Trading Standards Information and Advice: How to have a protected 2011 in the EU

Trading Standards are supporting the Consumer group, UK European Consumer Centre, with their efforts in educating UK consumers to make 2011 the year they ‘do their homework’ on their consumer rights when buying goods from the EU.

The UK European Consumer Centre is encouraging UK consumers to check out their basic consumer rights so that they are safe and protected when making cross-border purchases in 2011.

The aim of the UK European Consumer Centre is to “help as many UK consumers as possible who encounter problems with a trader based in Europe, to achieve a resolution: a refund, replacement, repair or cancellation of their contract.

Here are some of the safeguards in place to protect you whilst buying goods in the EU:

When you purchase goods you have entered into a contract with the seller. The EU Consumer Sales Directive 99/44/EC protects consumers when buying goods. The goods must conform to the contract i.e. ‘be of a satisfactory quality and fit for purpose for two years’. If the goods do not conform to contract, you may be entitled to a repair or replacement. For the first six months after purchase, it will be for the retailer to prove the goods did conform to contract (eg. were not faulty).

Consumers are advised to buy goods costing more than £100 with a credit card, as section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 may place equal liability with the seller on the credit card company. The act states that you can hold the credit card company equally liable for any breach of contract

Breach of contract is the failure of either party - consumer or trader - to perform any term of a contract, written or oral without a legitimate legal excuse. This may include not paying in full or on time, failure to deliver all of the goods or substituting inferior or significant different goods. When you buy goods, a contract is formed between you (the consumer) and the seller. This contract is legally binding and is covered by the EU Consumer Sales Directive 99/44/EC. If you have purchased goods, from a trader, that have become faulty or were not as described when you bought them, then this is a breach of contract under the EU Consumer Sales Directive 99/44/EC.