EU consumer protection and non-discrimination rules offer EU-wide protection to shoppers, whether in store or online:
EU Consumer Protection
Access to the EU’s Single Market gives consumers a wide range of products and services at competitive prices. UK citizens benefit in the following ways when shopping in the UK or the rest of the EU:
You should get what you paid for…
Goods must comply with their description, be fit for purpose and show a satisfactory quality and performance.
…otherwise you are entitled to seek redress
If you are not happy with what you paid for, you are entitled to request the seller to provide for remedies:
- A repair or replacement, which should be provided free of charge, within a reasonable time and without any significant inconvenience
- A reduction in price paid or a refund, if repair or replacement is impossible or disproportionate, or if there is unreasonable delay in providing one of these remedies.
Retailers are not allowed to use premium rate numbers
Protection from unfair contract terms
On anything from energy bills to phone contracts.
14 day return period for purchases
No additional VAT
You only need to pay VAT once on purchases made abroad in the EU, which is not the case when shopping outside of the EU.
Non discrimination rules
Companies are not allowed to charge EU citizens different rates for the same service just because they aren’t local.
A large part of the EU Commission’s role is to regulate the Single Market and ensure consumers are protected. It is currently investigating Disneyland Paris for making Brits pay 40% more than the French to visit Disneyland Paris. Internet giant Amazon, ski-lift operators and hotel companies are also currently under investigation.
Completing the digital single market
The UK government and the European Commission have put forward proposals to complete the ‘digital single market’. This would expand EU consumer rights online and end practices such as ‘geo-blocking’ on digital content such as video, ebooks and games. This means you would be able to access your digital content regardless of what EU country you originally purchased it in in – no matter if you bought it from Sky, Google, Amazon, Netflix, Apple or anywhere else.
EU Consumer Rights
Your Europe: EU consumer rights
Sale of Goods and Associated Guarantees Directive 99/44/EC