Consumers’ rights when buying from UK unchanged until Brexit occurs
Dublin, Thursday 9th May 2019 – With Europe Day taking place today, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Ireland is reminding consumers that when they buy from UK traders their rights under EU legislation remain the same at least until Brexit actually takes place, if it takes place.
When consumers buy cross-border from a trader based within the EU they can avail of certain rights that are not only part of EU consumer legislation but have also been transposed into the national legislation of Member States. The United Kingdom has been granted an extension on Article 50 until 31st October and so, for now, it is still a Member State until it actually leaves the EU. Therefore, consumers have the same EU consumer rights, for the time being at least, and traders cannot use Brexit as a reason for not giving legitimate refunds, repairs or replacements, delivery of an item, or carrying out other customer relation services.
However, when Brexit does happen there could be changes in UK domestic legislation in future which could mean that consumers may not be automatically entitled to the same rights as they have now when purchasing from a UK based trader. ECC Ireland is therefore advising consumers to continue to take precautions by thoroughly reading the terms and conditions, paying particular attention to returns and cancellation policies, and to pay securely, for example, with a credit/debit card in order to potentially avail of chargeback for problems such as non-delivery and goods that are not in conformity.
ECC Ireland spokesperson, Martina Nee, said: ‘Since the triggering of Article 50 there has been so much uncertainty for consumers as to what effect Brexit will have on their rights. Now that the UK’s exit from the EU has been pushed back until 31st October, consumers have been given some breathing space and can be assured that, for now at least, when they buy goods or services from a UK-based trader, and vice-versa, they can avail of their rights under EU legislation.
Any trader who uses Brexit to refuse a consumer’s right to cancel a distance contract, repair or replacement or other legitimate redress options is disregarding the legislation currently in force in the UK to protect consumers, which is aligned to EU legislation. However, Irish consumers should be aware that this could change post-Brexit. There could also be less options for further assistance and redress. Therefore, as we get closer to the Brexit date, consumers should take steps to protect themselves by reading the terms and conditions to find out about returns and cancellation policies and using a secure method of payment that facilitates redress if something goes wrong.’
Notes to Editor:
An audio clip quoting ECC Ireland is available from newswire EC Radio Ireland here.
ECC Ireland has a dedicated Brexit and EU consumer rights page on its website, which will be updated as Brexit events unfold and its impact on consumer rights further assessed.
ECC Ireland is part of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net), which covers 30 countries (all EU countries plus Norway and Iceland), and offers a free and confidential information and advice service to the public on their rights as consumers, assisting consumers with cross-border disputes. ECC Ireland is co-financed by the European Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.