Buying goods and services
Planning a shopping trip in Europe? Or simply buying a product or service on holiday? You have the same EU-wide consumer rights as in your own EU country, including a 2-year guarantee. European Consumer Centres offer advice which will help you avoid problems or use your rights in case of problems.
What rights on your shopping trips in the EU?
Wherever you shop in the EU, you have the same set of EU-wide consumer rights as a minimum
Your main EU-wide rights as a shopper include:
- The 2-year guarantee
- If a product turns out to be faulty or not as advertised (‘non-conformity’), you have a 2-year guarantee, which means the seller must repair or replace it free of charge.
- The 2-year guarantee is an EU-wide minimum, and the laws in some EU countries may offer you longer limitation periods.
- [!] In some countries, once the first 6 months of the two-year guarantee period have passed, you may need to prove that the product was faulty or not as advertised when you received it, if the seller contests this. In some countries, there are also deadlines for contacting the seller after discovering the defect.
- In addition, many sellers or manufacturers offer their own commercial guarantees, e.g. an “EU warranty” which promises to repair your product in any EU country, e.g. for 1,3 or 5 years). These may be free or for optional purchase.
- These additional commercial guarantees are binding and must be written in plain intelligible language. They never replace the minimum 2-year guarantee, which you always have from the seller as your legal right.
- Repairs, replacements, refunds
- If repair or replacement under the 2-year guarantee rules is not possible within a reasonable time or without inconvenience, you may ask for a refund or a price reduction.
- Some EU countries give consumers additional rights.
- You must not be charged a higher price for a product or service just because you live in another EU country.
- You must not be refused a service (e.g. DVD rental or a holiday booking) simply because you live in a different EU country.
- [!] But the refusal may be legal if there are objective reasons for it; also, your access to some services abroad (e.g. some types of insurance) may be more restriced.
Problems with my EU purchase: what do I do?
Always try to contact the seller first: under your 2-year guarantee, the seller is liable if the product turns out to be faulty or not as advertised.
Check the terms of any additional commercial guarantees that the seller may have offered you: they are binding on them. Under the seller’s guarantee, it may be possible to repair or replace your product back home even though you bought it abroad.
If you have an unresolved complaint against a foreign EU-based seller about your problem or you are not sure about your rights, contact your European Consumer Centre.
Your European Consumer Centre can:
offer more detailed online advice on the additional rights you may have in the country of your purchase or on restrictions that may apply for specific services;
advise if you have a problem buying a product or service in another EU country*;
if you have a complaint against a foreign EU seller, they can handle your complaint and help you solve the problem.
* and Iceland, Norway
How the Centres helped others
Right to repair: Irish consumer / UK trader
An Irish consumer bought a laptop while on holiday in Spain which broke after a few months. .
Returning items : Irish consumer/ UK trader
An Irish consumer bought a video-game set from the trader based in the UK. The video game broke down 2 months later.