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Last checked: 14/12/2022

Your rights when shopping

EU consumer protection rules ensure that when you buy goods and services in the EU you have clear information on the product or service you're buying, its price, shipping and delivery costs as well as on your rights when things go wrong.

Transparency online. As a consumer you have a right to know the status of any online seller. Online marketplaces must indicate whether a seller is a trader (registered company or individual entrepreneur) or a private individual. This distinction is important because you are protected under EU consumer legislation only if you buy from a trader. The marketplace must warn you about this when choosing an offer from a private individual.

Try our easy to use tool to help you understand your rights when you buy in the EU.

Did you buy your goods in the EU?

EU consumer rules cover goods and services that have been bought in the EU. However, if you buy from a non-EU online trader who has specifically targeted EU consumers you should also be covered by EU rules, but you may find it difficult to assert your rights with a trader who is based outside the EU.

Find out more about guarantees and returns

Still need help?

Did you buy new or second-hand goods?

When you buy new goods from a trader, you are covered by EU consumer rules providing a minimum 2-year legal guarantee if they turn out to be faulty.

Where did you buy your goods?

Second–hand goods that you buy from a trader are also covered by EU consumer rules, such as the minimum 2-year guarantee, and the 14-day cooling off period. In some EU countries, the buyer and seller can agree to a guarantee period of less than 2 years, but it must be no shorter than 1 year. This should be made clear when you make your purchase.

Where did you buy your goods?

Second–hand goods that you buy from private individuals are not covered by EU consumer rules. However, if an individual seller on an auction site is operating as a business, for example, they are making their living by reconditioning and selling second-hand mobile phones, then they are considered a professional trader, and your second-hand goods are covered by EU rules.

Find out more about guarantees and returns

Still need help?

When did you receive your goods?

What went wrong?

What went wrong?

What went wrong?

There are no EU rules on returning goods you bought in a shop because you have simply changed your mind.

However, many shops allow customers to return or exchange goods during a certain time period, provided you have the receipt. Check your receipt or the terms and conditions at the shop where you made your purchase for more information.

Read more about your shopping rights

Still need help?

You have the right to cancel and return your order within 14 days, for any reason and without a justification. This "cooling off" period expires 14 days after the day you received your goods (or concluded a contract for services).

However, the 14-day cooling off period does not apply to all purchases. Some of the exemptions are:

Please note that this list is not exhaustive.

Find out more about how to cancel your purchase within the 14 day period and get a refund

Still need help?

If goods you bought anywhere in the EU turn out to be faulty or do not look or work as advertised, the seller must repair or replace them free of charge or give you a price reduction or a full refund. You can usually only ask for a partial or full refund when it is not possible to repair or replace the goods.

Under EU consumer rules you always have the right to a 2-year minimum guarantee at no cost, regardless of whether you bought your goods in a shop, online or through distance selling, such as from a catalogue or by telephone. This 2-year guarantee is your minimum right, however national rules in your country may give you extra protection.

Read more about guarantees and returns in your country

Warning

You might not be entitled to a refund if the problem is minor, such as a scratch on a CD case.

Any repair or replacement should be completed within a reasonable time, and without significant inconvenience to you.

Additional guarantees (commercial guarantees, warranties)

Shops or producers will sometimes offer you an additional commercial guarantee (also called a "warranty"), either included in the price of the product or at an extra cost. This can give you better protection but can never replace or reduce the 2-year minimum guarantee, which you always have under EU rules.

Similarly, if a shop sells you a new product more cheaply and claims that you have no guarantee, this only means that you don't have any additional protection. You always have the right to a 2-year guarantee free of charge if the product turns out to be faulty or not as advertised.

When did your goods break?

If your goods break within the first year, it is assumed that the problem existed when you received the goods, unless the trader can prove otherwise. Therefore, you have the right to have the goods repaired or replaced free of charge, or if this turns out to be too difficult or costly, you may be offered a price reduction (on your original purchase) or your money back.

In some countries, you may have the right to choose freely between these different options. The trader always has to provide a solution. In some EU countries you also have the right to request a solution from the manufacturer.

Read more about guarantees and returns in your country

Still need help?

You still have the right to have your goods repaired or replaced for free or, under certain conditions, to a price reduction (on your original purchase) or your money back. However, you may need to prove that the problem existed when you received the goods - for example, by showing that it is due to the poor quality of the materials used.

The trader must then provide a solution. In some EU countries you also have the right to request a solution from the manufacturer.

Read more about guarantees and returns in your country

Still need help?

There is no legal protection for you under EU law. However, it might be worth contacting the seller or manufacturer, as they may still want to help you.

In some EU countries, you may have additional rights, such as longer legal guarantee, under national law.

Read more about guarantees and returns in your country

Still need help?

The goods you receive should match what was advertised or agreed and what you thought you were buying. If your goods are not what you ordered – for example, the wrong colour, incorrect size, or missing functionalities – you are entitled to a free of charge repair, replacement, or, where neither is possible, a price reduction (on your original purhase) or a refund.

Sometimes it's not immediately clear that your goods aren't what you ordered. For example, if you buy a new laptop online and you only realise some months later that the memory capacity does not match what you ordered. In these cases you are still entitled to a repair or replacement to bring the goods into conformity with what you ordered, or, where neither is possible, a price reduction or a refund.

These solutions are your minimum right, however national rules in your country may give you extra protection.

Read more about guarantees and returns in your country

Still need help?

The goods you receive should match what was advertised or agreed and what you thought you were buying. If your goods are not what you ordered – for example, the wrong colour, incorrect size, or missing functionalities – you are entitled to a free of charge repair, replacement, or, failing that, a price reduction (on your original purchase) or a refund.

When you buy goods outside regular shops (online or through a catalogue for example), you can always return them under the rules of the 14-day cooling off period simply because you changed your mind. This means you would be entitled to a full refund. However, you may need to pay for the cost of returning your purchase.

Find out more about cancelling and returning an order

Sometimes it's not immediately clear that your goods aren't what you ordered. For example, if you buy a new laptop online and you only realise some months later that the memory capacity does not match what you ordered. In these cases you are still entitled to a repair or replacement to bring the goods into conformity with what you ordered, or, where neither is possible, a price reduction or a refund.

These solutions are your minimum right, however national rules in your country may give you extra protection.

Read more about guarantees and returns in your country

Still need help?

If you don't get your purchase from the shop straight away or have ordered something in a shop for delivery at home, the trader should deliver it to you within 30 days – unless you specifically agreed on a different delivery time.

If you don't receive your goods within 30 days, or within the agreed time, you should remind the trader giving them an additional, reasonable time limit to deliver.

If the trader still doesn't deliver within the extended deadline then you're entitled to terminate your contract and be reimbursed as soon as possible. You don't have to give the trader extra time if they refuse to deliver or when an agreed delivery time is essential, for example, if you need the goods for a specific event, such as a dress for a wedding.

Read more about shipping and delivery

Still need help?

If you don't collect your purchase straight away or have ordered it for delivery at home the trader should deliver it to you within 30 days – unless you specifically agreed on a different delivery time.

If you don't receive the goods within 30 days, or within the agreed time, you should remind the trader giving them an additional, reasonable time limit to deliver.

If the trader still doesn't deliver within the extended deadline then you're entitled to terminate your contract and be reimbursed as soon as possible. You don't have to give the trader extra time if they refuse to deliver or when an agreed delivery time is essential, for example, if you need the goods for a specific event, such as a dress for a wedding.

Read more about shipping and delivery

Still need help?

The trader is responsible for any damage to your goods from the time they are dispatched until you receive them.

So, if when you receive an order you made in a shop, you discover your goods are faulty or don't work as they should, you are entitled to ask for them to be repaired, replaced or, where neither is possible, you can ask for a price reduction (on your original purchase) or a refund.

Remember that you always have a 2-year minimum guarantee at no cost. This 2-year guarantee is your minimum right, however national rules in your country may give you extra protection.

Find out more about guarantees and returns in your country

Still need help?

The trader is responsible for any damage to your goods from the time they are dispatched until you receive them.

So, if when you receive an order you made online, from a catalogue or by telephone, you discover your goods are faulty or don't work as they should, you are entitled to ask for them to be repaired, replaced or, where neither is possible, you can ask for a price reduction (on your original purchase) or a refund.

Remember that you always have a 2-year minimum guarantee at no cost. This 2-year guarantee is your minimum right, however national rules in your country may give you extra protection.

Find out more about guarantees and returns in your country

Still need help?

When you have problems with something you've bought, you should first contact the trader who sold you the goods or service. If you have problems claiming your rights with the trader, you can contact your consumer association or one of the available assistance services:

There are also EU dispute resolution tools that can help you resolve your problems with a trader, even if the trader is in a different EU country.

Find out more about consumer dispute resolution

See also

EU legislation

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