On March 15th we celebrate World Consumer Rights Day, which is dedicated to raising global awareness about consumer rights and needs. Did you know that the European Union is responsible for three-quarters of consumer rights? Here is a snapshot of some of its many achievements on behalf of consumers.

One charger for all your portable devices

From December 2024, the USB Type-C port will become the standard equipment for all mobile phones and tablets in the European Union. This means you can recharge all your electronic devices with a single charger, regardless of the brand. No need to bring a variety of chargers when you go on holiday!

Better protection in the digital world

The European Union is working to criminalise online activities that are already unlawful offline. Two major European regulations, the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, have recently come into effect. Now, all online platforms must verify the identity of the sellers they host.  This ensures that you know who you are dealing with when making online purchases through an intermediary.

Since March 6th, six major digital businesses (Google, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft) must reduce the restrictions they put on their users. For example, they can no longer impose their software by default when you buy a new device. And you should be able to uninstall pre-installed applications with just one click.

Easily repairing your defective products

For over 20 years, European Union laws have protected consumers when they bought goods.

These laws mean that if a product does not function correctly, you have the right to request a free repair or replacement from the seller up to two years after you bought it. Since 2022, these protections has been expanded to include connected devices, digital content, and services. Whether it’s a video game or a subscription to an application, their proper functioning is guaranteed for at least two years.

What if the device breaks down after two years? The European Union is working to compel businesses to produce durable products and encourage consumers to repair or have their defective devices repaired. This has led to the creation of new eco-design standards that manufacturers must follow and a right to repair for consumers on certain devices such as refrigerators, washing machines, or phones. A free online platform will be established in each EU country to find an authorised or independent repairer.

Expansion of the Consumer Credit Scheme

More and more online sellers are offering instalment payment solutions known as “Buy Now, Pay Later”. This payment option is very attractive for consumers who can buy immediately and pay in three or four instalments, usually without fees. However, it increases their risk of borrowing beyond their means. To safeguard consumer interests, Europe Union laws have been extended to include these type of credit arrangements. This means credit below €200 and those falling under the “Buy now, pay later” category are now subject to more stringent regulations. These measures will take effect from November 2026.

Instant money transfer within the Eurozone

Other new rules will change the way we pay, especially when it comes to transferring money. Currently, it takes one business day to complete a transfer within the Eurozone. Starting from autumn 2025, this period will reduce to 10 seconds, facilitating near-instantaneous transactions between the sender and the recipient. This transfer will incur no additional fees.