Be aware of your consumer rights when you shop online in the European Union

Online shopping is on a spree all over the world. Computer literacy is at par in most of the developed and developing countries. Computers could also be your way to some big cash as with the Brit Method you could be looking at nice profit in no time. People are constantly in search of shortcuts of daily activities which will help them to save even the smallest time. Shopping is that one big activity which is more like a recreation than a necessity. Then why shouldn’t anyone shop online?

Temptations of shopping online

The e-retailers gather and offer endless categories through their website starting from showpieces, baby products, to groceries, food and basic necessities. Even the popular and established brands sell their products through their official websites. The biggest attraction might be the discounts of all sorts, popping up every now and then and of course, there are coupon codes adding honey to the cream. Payments for online shopping can be done through a variety of modes, credit and debit cards, online banking, cash on delivery and even mobile wallets. The online shoppers are also offered replacement and return policies and even cash-back schemes.

You have the right to protect your interest

When you shop online, there is a high probability that you get cheated, either in terms of money or the quality of the product or even bad service. The geographical separation may make some retailers take the consumers for granted. So it is always wise to be thorough of your rights as a consumer. European Union countries have an advantage of being less populated with well-distributed demographics. This makes it easy to establish rights and duties of citizens and spread awareness on any sort. The Union has a dedicated official website informing about the consumer rights when you do any kind of shopping, both within the EU and outside EU (Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament).

Consumer rights for online shoppers

Normally, the EU puts forth the producers to display the detailed contents, total prices, trader’s details, marketing information, date of use etc. For traders selling their products online the following information is mandatory to be displayed:

  • Name, contact address, trade register number, and communication details (telephone number and email) of the trader
  • Professional title and the professional association to which the trader belongs, as applicable
  • Geographical restrictions on their product’s availability
  • Order cancellation policy and consumer rights within 14 days
  • Availability of after sales service and return and replacement policies
  • The trader’s customer complaint registration and dispute resolution mechanisms
  • Total price of the product, delivery charges and shipping details
  • Information on taxes including Value Added Tax (VAT) of the trader

The Union makes it compulsory to ensure that the consumers get after sales service and contact number to register their complaints. The complaint cell number should, as far as possible toll-free or at least provide low rate calls. The consumer’s personal details should be kept fully confidential.

There should not be any hidden charges, and guaranteed offers to be given in compulsory if delivery charges are mentioned to be free, the consumer is bound to get it shipped for free without any additional charges. The mutual contract for sale to be agreed upon by the consumer should be written in a plain simple language and there shouldn’t be any hidden/unfair contracts.

So completely enjoy your online shopping, but make it a point to be careful always, of the trader’s credibility and your consumer rights. For genuine complaints, feel free to contact your local European Consumer Centre.