Tough New Consumer Laws

publication date: Jun 28, 2014
author/source: Dean Dunham

Dean DunhamThanks to a new European Law known as The Consumer Rights Directive, our consumer rights have been considerably strengthened. Under the new rules consumers are given higher levels of protection when shopping online (from both UK and EU websites) and on the high street. It is also hoped that the new rules will go someway towards combating rogue traders.

The new rules are law now so before you spend one more penny online or in store here’s what you need to know:

What are the changes?

Right to return goods

Ebay/online auctions


Hidden/additional charges

Customer care phone lines

Digital products

Are there any implications for businesses?

Common rules for businesses will make it easier for them to trade all over Europe. Businesses making sales by phone, mail or online, or away from their premises, will now have a single set of rules to follow. This creates a level-playing field and cuts cross-border transaction costs. As regards small businesses and craftsmen, there will be no right to pull out of a contract for urgent repairs and maintenance jobs. Member States can also exempt traders doing repairs or maintenance jobs in customers’ homes for less than EUR 200 from certain information requirements.

Are there any exceptions to the new rules?

The new rules do not apply to package travel contracts, construction contracts and most financial services.

Will retailers/online sellers comply with the tough new rules?

Many will, some blatantly will ignore them and others simply will not be aware of the changes. It is now down to you as consumers to complain when these rules are broken and people like me to expose and pull-up those that break or ignore the them.

 Are the new rules good for consumers?

There is no doubt about it, these new rules represent the biggest shake up in consumer laws in recent times. In my opinion the changes are all positive for consumers and on the basis that more and more of us are buying goods online from EU traders it provides a good platform for harmonising how traders across the borders operate.

For further information visit Dean’s legal and consumer website.

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