Our common rules for the common market include measures to help consumers feel confident when buying products from across Europe.
European agreements on consumer rights aim to increase customer protection while maintaining a level playing field and a competitive market for businesses. They aim to give consumers the power to make informed decisions based on accurate, clear and consistent information, and put safeguards in place to ensure businesses don’t take advantage of their customers.
Consumer expenditure makes up 56% of the EU’s GDP, and encourages economic growth.
So what exactly does the EU do for consumers?
- Gives buyers 14 days to withdraw from a contract, including buying distance goods, changing energy suppliers, and new credit cards
- Stops consumers being conned into paying for ‘free’ services and eliminates hidden charges
- Bans pre-ticked boxes, like adding extras on to plane tickets
- Makes sure companies don’t charge you more for using a credit card than it costs them to offer that option
- Ensures no one is charged more based on their country of residence
- Gives consumers a minimum 2-year guarantee on goods to protect against faults
Europe-wide laws also give British travellers in any EU country strong rights:
- Mobile roaming costs have been cut by more than 70%, and will be completely eliminated in 2017
- Passengers are entitled to compensation if journeys are delayed or cancelled or injury occurs
- People with reduced mobility have the same access to travel as anyone else
- If you unexpectedly fall ill when visiting another EU country, you are entitled to emergency healthcare with the same rights as people insured in the country you are in
As much of the food we eat comes from other countries in the EU, it makes sense that consumers are protected by common food safety legislation. This lays down standards for food hygiene, animal welfare, plant protection and food contamination. Suppliers must provide clear information on the origin, content and use of food, and all allergens must be identified.