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New EU consumer rights now in force 16/06/2014 The new EU Consumer Rights Directive, which is designed to strengthen consumer rights wherever they shop in Europe, is now in force.

New EU consumer rights now in force

The new EU Consumer Rights Directive, which is designed to strengthen consumer rights wherever they shop in Europe, is now in force.

The Directive harmonises national consumer rules in several important areas, such as the information consumers need before they purchase goods and services, and their right to cancel online purchases. Increased harmonisation means that consumers can now rely on the same rights, no matter where they shop in the EU. It also means simpler, more predictable rules for traders, who will now have more incentives to expand their business across borders.

The new rules include:

  • Enhanced price transparency;
  • The end of unjustified surcharges for the use of credit cards and hotlines;
  • A ban on pre-ticked boxes on the internet, for example when buying plane tickets;
  • An extension of the period to change your mind, from seven days to a uniform fourteen days across the EU;
  • Stronger refund rights, within fourteen days of the consumer's cancellation of a purchase;
  • Rules banning online traps, like offers on the internet that advertise something as free when in reality it is not (for example horoscopes or recipes);
  • Better protection in relation to digital content, especially regarding information on the software and hardware the products work with.

"Today Europe is putting an end to consumer rip-offs online. As of today every consumer in the European Union can claim his or her rights under the Consumer Rights Directive meaning: no more pre-ticked boxes when you buy a plane ticket, no more extra charges for paying with your credit card online and no more traders telling you that you can't return a good you bought online," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.

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