Updated : 27/05/2015
Before buying products or services in a shop, you have the right to receive clear, correct and understandable key information from the trader. This information should include:
Some of this information may not have to be provided explicitly, if it is apparent from the context - such as the characteristics of a product which are displayed on a shelf in the shop.
If you buy online or from a salesperson on your doorstep, more detailed information must be provided before you make the purchase - for instance on your right to withdraw from the contract, which applies to many purchases made elsewhere than in shops.
For such purchases, you should bear in mind that you do not have to pay any delivery costs or other charges of which you were not informed.
Ewa from Poland bought some books from an online trader - but her credit card was charged more than the final amount displayed at the point of sale on the trader's website.
Because EU rules oblige traders to display correct and complete pricing information before a customer makes a purchase online, Ewa reported this matter to both the company and the Polish authorities. After intervention by the authorities, she was refunded the difference.
Contracts must be written in plain and understandable language and cannot contain unfair contract terms.
Once you have made a purchase online or from a door-to-door salesperson, you must receive a confirmation of your transaction. The confirmation must be on paper or on another durable medium such as e-mail or fax. You have the right to get a confirmation on paper from a door-to-door salesperson.
Special rules for small value contracts
In some EU countries, the right of withdrawal, contract confirmation and other legal requirements applicable to door-to-door transactions do not apply to purchases of less than € 50 (or sometimes even less).
Fees for the use of means of payment
If a trader wishes to charge you for using a specific means of payment - for instance a credit card - then the fee cannot be higher than what it actually costs him to process your payment. In some countries such fees may be banned altogether.
If the trader wishes to offer you additional services, for example, express delivery, gift wrapping or travel insurance, you must give the trader your explicit consent to these additional payments. In particular, using a pre-ticked box on the trader's website does not constitute such consent and you would be entitled to reimbursement of any payment which has been collected in such a way.
If you don’t pick your product up straight away, the trader should, as a rule, deliver the goods to you within 30 days, unless you specifically agreed on a different delivery time. The trader is responsible for any damage to the goods from dispatch until the time you receive them.
If you do not receive the goods within 30 days, or within the mutually agreed period, you must remind the trader giving an additional, reasonable time limit to deliver. For example, if the trader has informed you that delivery is delayed by one week because of problems with his suppliers you should consider giving him an extra week.
If the trader still does not deliver within the extended deadline you are entitled to an immediate refund. You do not have to give the trader an extension where he refuses to deliver or when the agreed delivery period is essential, for example, the goods in question are needed for a specific event, such as a wedding dress.
Remember that if an item you bought anywhere in the EU turns out to be faulty or does not look or work as advertised you are entitled to ask for a repair, a replacement or, where neither is possible or convenient, a refund.
After sales communication by telephone
Traders who provide telephone lines for consumers must make sure that the cost of such calls are charged at the basic rate for regular phone calls. It is forbidden for traders to require consumers to call, for example, premium-rate telephone lines to make enquiries or complaints about their purchase.
Get in touch with specialised assistance services