Consumer rights

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Return items bought online within 14 days, and other rights as a consumer

Wrong size?

So it seems I was rather ambitious with the size of that pair of jeans I bought online… Luckily, my rights as an EU consumer mean I can return any product I’ve bought online, by phone or by mail order within 14 days. As long as the product is in perfect condition and can be resold, I’ll receive a full refund or an exchange – no arguments, no questions asked, and no explanations needed. So I can send those jeans back and find a pair that fit perfectly.

Too good to be true

Spotted a great offer for a new bike but worried there’s a catch? Companies that work within any EU country are banned from misrepresenting their products or services in misleading adverts. So if what I receive isn’t what I was expecting, then I can use my rights to either get what was promised, or get my money back. 

Check the small print

Signing the papers for a loan or credit card agreement can be a daunting experience, especially if I’m worried that somewhere there might be a clause that costs me half my income. Well, not in the EU. All contracts must be clear, understandable, and with no unfair conditions or requirements. So to make sure there are no nasty surprises, all the terms need to be presented clearly before I sign.

Damaged goods

There’s a sight we all dread: the blinking red light that means a new washing machine has broken down. All goods purchased in the EU include a minimum 2-year guarantee, so if a product I’ve bought isn’t working as it should, I can get it repaired or replaced for free. So forget the launderette – my washing machine should be back up and running in no time.

Keeping time

No one wants to give their friend the birthday blues, but sometimes ordering their gift online can mean that the big day comes and goes with no sign of their present in the post. They may be empty-handed, but all is not lost. EU law means that if I don’t receive the goods within 30 days of purchase, I can notify the trader and give them an extra week to deliver. If I’m still item-less after the extension, I can cancel my order and demand a full refund. Of course, if my order was for a specific event – like a birthday – then I don’t need to offer the extra week and can cancel my order after the 30-day period.

On your side

Trouble with a trader in another EU country? Perhaps that new bag is a counterfeit, or those sunglasses were scratched when they arrived? The EU offers free advice and support via the European Consumer Centres located in every EU country, plus Iceland and Norway. If I can't reach a resolution with the trader, I can ask for help via the Online Dispute Resolution platform. Using this system, I can ensure my dispute is resolved fairly, either for free or for a small fee. It also means that traders can avoid costly litigation procedures, helping to build and improve their customer relations.

How it works

As an EU consumer, I’m entitled to be treated fairly – from getting my items fixed or replaced if they break within two years, to being able to change my mind about my online purchase within 14 days, or having a clear, understandable contract to sign for a new service. EU rules aim to make shopping – whether online, by phone, by mail order or on the high street – clear, simple and fair.

    Did you know?



    The percentage of internet users aged 16-24 who shop online.



    The increase in the number of online purchases by internet users between 2007 and 2017.



    The number of cross-border complaints received by European Consumer Centres in 2013, 66% of which were related to goods purchased on the internet.



    Shops and traders in the EU are not allowed to apply any surcharges to my purchases for using my credit or debit card.

    Solving the squabble


    Not seeing eye-to-eye with an online merchant? For free advice and support, I can turn to my European Consumer Centre.

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