Eight reasons shopping online is made easier thanks to the EU
What do EU consumer rights and Digital Single Market have in common? They both make shopping in the EU so much better & simpler.
With time, our social lives and our habits have changed including shopping. We are shopping online more than ever before.
But did you know your consumer rights are well-protected online and Digital EU makes things so much easier for you?
1. You can shop from stores in 27 countries
You can buy products and services from shops and businesses in 27 European countries with no additional charges except shipping. There’s no more ‘geo-blocking.’ In other words, online shops cannot refuse to sell you their goods or services based on where you live.
So if you want to buy a product available on a website in another EU country, you will be able to do so. However, companies can choose in which member states to provide a delivery service. If they don’t deliver to your home country, you can either pick up the product in the member state of sale — for example if you live near its border — or arrange delivery yourself. Either you can contact a courier company to pick up and ship the product, or perhaps your friends or family could help by having the product delivered to them and then sending it to you.
2. No bank transfer charges
There are no extra fees for a euro bank transfer to another EU country. Your bank cannot charge you more than it would for a transfer inside your country.
You cannot be asked to pay a surcharge when using your debit or credit card in the EU.
3. You have the right to clear information
EU online sellers must provide you with detailed information, including their contact details, the main characteristics of the product or service and the total cost of the product, including all taxes and delivery charges.
All of the information provided to you must be clear, understandable, and with no unfair conditions or requirements.
4. Refunds if ads are misleading
Companies are banned from misrepresenting their products or services in misleading adverts. If you receive something that wasn’t as you expected, you can use your rights to either get what was promised, or get a refund.
5. You have the right to change your mind when buying goods online
With few exceptions, when you shop online you have the right to return your purchases to the seller within 14 days if you change your mind. You are entitled to a refund and do not have to give any reason. But do bear in mind you may have to pay the cost of returning the goods.
6. Something damaged?
All goods purchased in the EU include a minimum 2-year guarantee, so if a product you have bought is not working as it should, you can get it repaired or replaced for free.
7. Details that make this even better!
Apart from the end of geoblocking, which was an important piece of the Digital Single Market puzzle, we have also put in place separate measures for:
- more transparent and affordable cross-border parcel delivery prices,
- simpler VAT rules for businesses(entering into force this year in July), and
- harmonisation of consumer protection rules (entering into force in 2022).
Having the same rules throughout the EU makes things simpler for you and for small businesses — they can sell to more people and have access to a larger market, which in turn means they can keep prices down.
8. A European Consumer Centre close to you!
Any issues with a business or a shop in another EU country? You can get free advice and support via the European Consumer Centres located in every EU country.
Please note these rules are only applicable when you are shopping inside the EU. You might need to pay for customs and delivery when shopping from outside the EU.