Years of Europe for Consumers

The European market is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Since 1993, Europeans have seen their rights evolve in their daily lives: harmonized withdrawal period in case of online purchase, two years of legal warranty throughout Europe, protection when traveling by plane, train, boat, or bus. For Europe Day on May 9th, the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net) reviews some of the most important changes of the quarter century in the field of consumption.

A Common currency: the Euro

The Euro is one of the most concrete achievements of European integration. It is the single currency of 19 of the 28 countries in the European Union, i.e. 338,6 million people. Traveling in the EU without changing currency, comparing the price of products or buying from online European sites without converting is all possible as of the first of January 2002.

We have solved the conundrum of knowing how much time you have to return an order that is not suitable. As of June 13, 2014, for any distance purchase or door-to-door solicitation in the European Union, the cooling-off-period has been harmonized to at least 14 days. The European consumer therefore has 14 days to return his purchase made on a European site.

Two-year guarantee is a European right, not an option!

Consumers have a two-year guarantee on all products purchased from a European trader. The product doesn't correspond to the description of the seller or shows a manufacturing defect? According to the legal guarantee rules, consumers can ask the seller to repair or replace the defective product free of charge. Can a trader not do this? Then he has to refund the purchase.

Rights when travelling by plane, train, bus, or boat

For journeys by plane, train, bus, or boat from the EU, there is a European regulation that protects travellers. With reimbursement of the ticket, rerouting to the final destination, financial compensation, Europe has provided rights in case of travel incidents in all modes of transport.

The ECC-Net to help in cross-border disputes

To inform citizens on their rights in Europe or to help them settle their disputes with a professional situated in another EU country, the European Commission and the Member States created the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net) in 2005. There is one centre in each EU country as well as in Iceland and Norway.

Follow our Facebook and Twitter campaign from the 9th of May to find out about a selection of the advantages of the European market for consumers listed by the European Consumer Centre Network.