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Empowering e-consumers

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Empowering e-consumers


This week in U Talk, Luc from Brussels posts the question on our website: “What are my rights when I buy something on the Internet?”

Following two and a half years of negotiations, the European Parliament has reached an agreement with the 27 EU member states’ governments on harmonising and bringing up to date consumers’ rights in the Internal Market. With online purchases soaring, the new rules boost protection for the buyers.

Andreas Schwab, who wrote the new legislative text, said: “The European interest in this is clearly to focus on the people using the Internet or direct sales. So many purchases are made across borders in the EU today. That is part of Europe’s strength, and it should take far more advantage of the diversity of products.”

Consumers have the right to 14-days to change their mind, returned goods should be refunded within two weeks, there is a 30-day delivery limit to respect and information on prices and costs must be clear.

If a buyer online is not told that he can change his mind about a purchase, the right to send it back extends to one year.

Some products and services are not covered, such as car hire, plane tickets and hotel reservations, made to measure items or perishable goods like flowers and food, or digital downloads such as music, software and films.

Schwab said: “We’ve given countries two years to transpose the EU law into their national lawbooks, so the rules should be applicable in all the member states, for all Europeans, as of January 1, 2013.

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