No-deal Brexit “not a big deal” for An Post, says company

Helen McEntee warns consumers to be ready for online shopping changes in no-deal scenario

A no-deal Brexit is “not a big deal” for An Post, the company has said.

A no-deal Brexit is “not a big deal” for An Post, the company has said.

 

A no-deal Brexit is “not a big deal” for An Post, the company said on Friday, but European Affairs minister Helen McEntee warned consumers to be ready for changes in online shopping if the UK leaves without a deal.

Consumer protections and rights for people buying goods online will be affected immediately by a no-deal Brexit, Ms McEntee warned today during a visit to the An Post Mail Centre in Portlaoise.

Goods bought online may attract Vat and import duty, depending on their value, if the UK leaves the EU abruptly on October 31st, she warned.

Ms McEntee was visiting the An Post centre to see no-deal Brexit preparations at the company, which handles millions of parcels from the UK every year.

Senior An Post executives, however, stressed that the company was prepared for a no-deal.

“From our point of view, it is not a big deal,” said Garret Bridgeman, head of parcel services.

“We’ve prepared for it, we’ve put the operational arrangements in place. We’ve worked very closely with our colleagues in customs who are on site in all our facilities and also with our colleagues and friends in Royal Mail and large customers, the likes of Amazon, ” Mr Bridgeman said.

“So I would say to our customers – we’re prepared, we’re ready, and that our objective with all of this is that it has no impact on our customers and they see a seamless transition and they can continue online shopping in a no deal scenario.”

‘Green-laned’

An Post handles 14 million parcels every year from the UK - greater than the 10 million parcels it handles from all the rest of the world put together.

All truck drivers that are coming over will be “green-laned” at the port of entry, Mr Bridgeman said, and customs officers will check imports from the UK at An Post facilities.

“We don’t see any additional cost for our customers in relation to a no-deal Brexit,” he said,

Feargal O’Leary, from the consumer watchdog the Consumer and Competition Protection Commission, said that consumers should examine the small print when purchasing online to see how their rights have been affected if there is a no deal Brexit.

“The message for consumers that we have is very clear: you really now need to engage with this as a consumer. If you are buying online and you are not sure where you are buying from, you should as a first step check the terms and conditions and check the location on the website,” he said.

Consumer rights in the EU have been built up over the last number of decades and they’re very strong for consumers,” he said.

“But if the UK is not part of the EU in the next six-seven-eight weeks, that means that consumers will be relying on terms and conditions as opposed to statutory instruments. So if people are buying from the UK, just take that extra bit of time to check the website - what is the location, and what terms and conditions are you signing up to before you buy? And in that case you’ll protect yourself no matter where you’re buying from,” he said.