The main aim of the European Commission’s ‘Your future. Your choice’ campaign is to educate and empower citizens on four key consumer topics …
Climate change and economic instability have made our way of life unsustainable and put the future at risk, but we can protect the environment and the economy with the choices we make.
The EU empowers consumers to be the driver of green transition by encouraging more ‘circular’ products, promoting repair and fighting greenwashing. The EU also ensures that sustainable products are available to consumers on the EU market and they have better information to make an informed choice.
Tip and tricks on how to consume sustainably:
- Think twice before shopping, and consider shopping second-hand. Do not buy a new smart phone when your current one is still functioning.
- Make sure your purchases have environmental benefits. For example, check if they have the EU Ecolabel.
- Check sustainability labels in general. Knowing how to read them or what they mean protects you from incorrect claims on the product packs.
- Cycle, walk or take public transport instead of going by car or plane. 2021 is the European Year of Rail!
- Ensure less waste. When you throw away food, you are wasting natural resources and money. Consider repairing a broken product instead of buying a new one.
You need to be aware of financial risks and opportunities, to make informed choices and to know where to go for help. Make sure you are well-informed about your consumer rights and you develop your skill set to manage your income and improve your financial well-being.
Tips and trick on how to manage your finances:
- Think carefully about whether you need a financial product (credit, investment, insurance) that could be risky, expensive or represent a long-term engagement.
- Ask for advice from an independent advisor if you do not understand an offer.
- Read carefully the pre-contractual information and try to compare offers from different providers.
- Make sure you know your rights. For instance, if you purchase financial services online, you have a 14-day right of withdrawal thanks to existing EU consumer legislation.
Data protection is about making sure that you are in control of how organisations treat data about you. It requires organisations to have a good reason why they process your data, to be transparent about what they do, and to do it in a secure way.
Tips and trick on how to protect your data
- No means no. If controllers ask you for your consent, it has to be free, specific and informed. For example, pre-ticked boxes and overly broad terms do not count.
- You can revoke your consent if you change your mind and this must be as easy as giving it in the first place.
- You can access your personal data that organisations hold about you, for free. If you find out it is wrong, you can have it corrected. If you find out that is unlawfully stored, you can have it deleted.
- You have the right to data portability in some cases, such as moving to a new service provider.
- You can reach out to a data protection authority in your country if you have an issue with how organisations treat your personal data.
Products from all over the world, delivered to our door in a few clicks – that’s the advantage of online shopping. The internet has many uses and great potential for abuse. You need be on high alert when shopping online, and aware of the rules companies need to comply with.
Tips and tricks on how to stay safe online
- Consider shopping elsewhere if traders do not provide their identity and contact details.
- Avoid falling into a trap and be aware of pressure selling techniques such as:
- products advertised as a “unique opportunity”
- claims that a product is the “only product offering effective protection”, the “only testing kit for home use” or sold at “the lowest price on the market”;
- scarcity claims such as “only available today” or “sell out fast”.
- Read web addresses and page titles carefully, and avoid using pages with systematic misspellings. These are frequently used to avoid detection by website operators’ algorithms.
- Check if the products have precise and understandable text descriptions.
- Report unsupported or dubious offers. Use the reporting tools provided by the platform operator or contact the competent national authorities or consumer organisations in your country.
- Make sure you know your consumer rights.