If you are reading this article, chances are, you are connected to the internet and probably have purchased goods or services online at least once. You do know how easy it is – from choosing the product to placing your order, the whole process may take as little as 1 minute. Consumers don’t really care where the trader is based, as long as you receive a good value price for your purchase.
But have you considered what happens if the product is faulty, or you decide you want to return it back? Truth is, we never consider the remote possibility of a problem, until it comes to our door.
Thankfully, within the European Union a comprehensive set of legal rules exists, which aim is to protect consumers in such situations. This article will give you a brief overview of consumer rights that every EU citizen is entitled to.
When you buy goods or services, the trader is under an obligation to provide you with the following information:
- • The main product characteristics
- • Total price
- • Delivery costs
- • Payment arrangements
- • Duration of contract (if applicable)
- • Trader’s identity, address and phone number
Online sales require the traders to provide additional information, namely:
- • Email address
- • Delivery restrictions
- • Right to cancel the order
- • Dispute resolution methods
- • Registered trade number
- • VAT and belonging to trade associations (if applicable)
Failure to provide the above listed information may lead to sanctions to the trader or extended rights for the consumer.
Guarantees and returns
When buying goods or services online in the EU, you have the right to cancel and return your order within 14 days, without any reason. (Please note that some exceptions apply, for example personalised or perishing goods). This is also called the right of withdrawal. Also, if the trader has not met the information requirements set out above, your right of withdrawal may be extended to 12 months.
The minimum guarantee afforded to EU consumers is 2 years. Within this period, the seller must repair, replace or give a price reduction or full refund, if the goods prove to be faulty. Some time limits may apply, for example after the first 6 months, you will have to prove that the goods were faulty at the time of receipt.
This article just briefly touches the surface of EU consumer rights and gives you a quick idea of what rights you have. Every case is specific, therefore the best option is to check you online rights at the spot or contact us for more information.