Know #yourEUright

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Defend your rights as an EU consumer

Truthful Advertising
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Switching Banks vs. Bank Transparency
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Package Travel
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Product Safety
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Fair contracts
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Repair or Replacement
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When advertising is untrue

As an EU citizen, it’s #yourEUright to have truthful advertising. “Misleading advertising” deceives or is likely to deceive the persons to whom it is addressed. Ads should be accurate about availability of the product, and what it’s made of.

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Misleading ads can boast about food or health products, about how natural they are. Prizes, gifts and free or limited offers are other gimmicks. They might ask your kids to ask you to buy something. You can contact a local consumer organisation to challenge those practices.

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Half off on the restaurant bill? Not anymore

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A Portuguese consumer found a restaurant in Porto advertising online with "50% discount on the menu" and made a reservation. Upon arriving, the consumer was told the number of tables reserved for that promotion had already been exceeded.

The restaurant was contacted by a consumer organisation and it offered the customer a 50% reimbursement on the bill.

Switch your bank with ease: it’s #yourEUright

Moving your account to another bank should happen without a hitch. After you open your new account in another bank, your old bank closes your account there. There should be no hidden fees. But what if there are?

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The European Union requires banks to show their info in the same standardised way, and every EU country must have at least one independent website comparing what banks charge in fees and interest. That gives you ammunition for an EU Online Dispute Resolution, and if you need more help, you can contact your local consumer organisation. In case of cross-border disputes, the offices of the European Consumer Centres Network can give you a hand. They can help contact a business to settle your dispute.

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Bank ‘’forgets’’ to close his account

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A Romanian consumer said his bank lacked information on applied commissions and increased them without warning. It had ‘’forgotten’’ to close his account, though he asked them to do so and had reduced his balance to zero.

The national consumer organisation contacted the bank and the consumer was able to close his account with no additional fees.

#yourEUright to the package travel you paid for

You should be able to travel with peace of mind, after all, what’s a holiday for? If your package tour had problems, you can demand a refund. And if the tour operator goes out of business while at your holiday destination, it’s #yourEUright to be repatriated free of charge.

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These rights are valid whether you bought the tour online or face-to-face, from a tour operator, travel agent, or any other trader that is acting as the organiser of the package.

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Change of plans and surprise additional payment request?

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An Italian consumer bought a package for five people to Fuerteventura on a travel website, including the return flight and a rental car. Three months later he had to change the return date of one traveller. Customer service said it would cost €90: €60 for the airline penalty and €30 for the management fees. The confirmation email said it would cost €355. Despite a series of emails and phone calls, the problem remained unresolved and the consumer bought a new ticket directly from the airline for €176.

The consumer organization contacted the travel website on behalf of the consumer, who demanded the difference between the original price and the cost of the new ticket, due to the lack of service on the website. In a week’s time he received the compensation.

Product safety and #yourEUright

EU rules aim to ensure that when you buy something, it’s safe. Any product sold in the EU must comply with EU safety requirements (or laws), and there’s an alert system to raise awareness and stir action.

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If you discover something is unsafe, immediately alert the seller and the authorities in your country. You should also ask to be compensated because a product should be safe during the whole lifespan of a product. The EU’s Safety Gate, with a weekly newsletter you can subscribe to, gives other tips on how to avoid unsafe products and what you or a business should do.

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Hazardous toy police set – sounding the alarm

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A toy police set which included projectiles with suction cups was considered dangerous by Cypriot authorities because the suction cups could detach and be put in the mouth by children, causing them to choke on them. The toy was dealt with by the Cypriot Ministry of energy, commerce & industry, Consumer’s Protection Service.

The toy was withdrawn from the market and was included in the EU’s Rapid Alert System for non-food products which pose a serious risk to consumers. As a result, the Romanian authorities also noticed the toy on their market and also ordered shops to withdraw the toy from their shelves.

#yourEUright to a fair contract

Some contracts have hidden terms, can limit the trader’s liability, allow the trader to cancel the contract without giving the consumer the same right, or demand excessive compensation from the buyer. If the contract contains unfair terms, it violates #yourEUright.

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What are your options? Unfair contract terms are invalid. If the contract still makes sense without the unfair terms, the contract remains valid. You can contact your local consumer organisation for help. In case of cross-border disputes, the offices of the European Consumer Centres Network can give you a hand. They can help contact a business to settle your dispute.

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Car with hidden defects and an unfair contract – what’s the solution?

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A Slovenian consumer bought a second-hand car from a dealer and after 2 months noticed problems with the wiring. He also learned that the car’s odometer had been manipulated. He complained to the dealer and wanted to return the car for a refund. The dealer refused, saying the purchase contract stated that the buyer had a chance to test the vehicle, and that the vehicle is sold as-is, that the buyer cannot make a claim for any possible defects that might arise.

After consulting with the local consumer organisation, the consumer informed the trader that it is illegal to exclude responsibility for hidden defects through a contract clause. The dealer eventually agreed to lower the purchase price in proportion to the defects.

Get it repaired or replaced. Guaranteed.

It’s #yourEUright to have a defective product fixed or replaced. A seller must repair, replace, cut the sales price or give you a refund if the product is faulty or doesn’t work as advertised within the first two years.

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Alert the seller as soon as possible. Even with a 2-year guarantee, it gets harder to defend that right as time goes by. As of six months after buying something, it’s up to you to prove it’s not defective because of how you used it. If you cannot solve the problem by negotiation, that’s where your local consumer organisation or the European Consumer Centres Network can help. Resist any seller contending the guarantee is only one year. That’s illegal. These are minimum EU rules; in some countries you are even better protected.

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Defective binoculars - no solution in sight?

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A Danish consumer purchased a pair of binoculars from a trader in Luxembourg. Initially, they were replaced by the trader because of a defect, but the same problem appeared again. By now it was 25 months since he bought the binoculars – one month past the 2-year guarantee, so the trader refused a refund.

Through the help of the European Consumer Centre, the consumer was offered a price reduction. The seller was not obligated to do so under the law, but the story shows that turning to consumer watchdogs can still help even in such a situation. Whether a new guarantee period starts with the replacement will depend on whether national law provides for additional consumer rights on top of EU minimum rights.

Don’t like your purchase? Within 14 days, you can ask to return it.

It’s one of your basic rights as an online consumer, and you don’t need a reason. Just notify the seller within 14 days and ship it back – it’s your right. There are exceptions: you can’t return consumables like food, downloaded software or personalised products. You can’t just ‘’borrow’’ and wear a piece of clothing and return it. But apart from that, you CAN return your purchase, and you have tools to help. Note that if the seller has not informed you about the right of withdrawal, it is extended 12 months from the end of the initial withdrawal period.

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If the seller does not respect that right, you have tools to help get your money back. The seller should provide a template withdrawal form. You can also contact your local consumer organisation. In case of cross-border disputes, the offices of the European Consumer Centres Network can give you a hand. They can help contact a business to settle your dispute.

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Jacket didn’t fit – returned it and got reimbursed, after some pressure

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An Italian consumer bought a jacket on the site of a Danish clothing brand. It arrived after 8 days but he realised that it was too small for him, so he exercised the right of withdrawal, under the terms stated on the website. Moreover, the reimbursement request was accepted and confirmed by the seller with an email. But the consumer, after having sent the package with the returned goods, heard nothing more from the clothing company despite repeated emails. He contacted a national consumer organisation, which wrote to the company. The consumer was then reimbursed on his credit card.