Irish consumers can now buy goods and order services right across Europe safe in the knowledge that their purchases are protected by powerful legislation.
Protecting the interests and safety of consumers is an essential part of the EU’s overall objective to improve the quality of life of all Europeans.
The Single Market has opened up endless opportunities for competition which helps keep prices low for consumers. But in order for the market to work to its best potential consumer confidence has to be strong.
That’s why so much effort has been put into ensuring that Europeans are protected by ten key basic principles , no matter what they buy and where they choose to buy it.
The key principals are:
1. Buy what you want, where you want
2. If it doesn’t work, send it back
3. High safety standards for food and consumer goods
4. Know what you are eating
5. Contracts should be fair to consumers
6. Sometimes consumers can change their mind
7. Making it easier to compare prices
8. Consumers should not be misled
9. Protection while you are on holiday
10. Effective redress for cross-border disputes
These principles are the minimum consumer protection rights that must exist in all EU countries. Some countries do even more to protect ordinary consumers and member states are continuing to work together to tighten up legislation and further develop market confidence.
And while consumers everywhere in Europe have welcomed new laws to protect their purchases, it’s not only legislative measures that are being taken to make the EU the safest place to shop in the world.
The European Commission adopted a six year Consumer Policy Strategy in 2007. Work on the €156 million plan is ongoing and it aims to eliminate all risks on purchasing goods and services by 2013.
The ambitious strategy recognizes that consumers are the lifeblood of the European economy and the commission will use it to work towards empowering EU consumers through even more accurate information, market transparency and confidence that stems from effective consumer protection.
Improving price, choice, quality and safety is also at the centre of the strategy, and that’s good news for shoppers everywhere. The commission’s vision is to demonstrate by 2013 to all EU citizens that they can shop from anywhere in the EU with confidence.
It also wants to show retailers that they can sell anywhere on the basis of a single, simple set of rules.