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UK European Consumer Centre

10 top tips for shopping in Europe 

Holidays are a great time to buy things that can be expensive in the UK or are just a little different, but what happenes if you have a problem later?  

As part of the celebrations for the ECC-Net's 10th anniversary, the UKECC has put together 10 tips for a successful trip to Europe

10 tips for a successful trip to Europe 

  •  If your purchase doesn't work, take it/send it back (when you buy goods, you have entered into a contract with the seller. The EU Consumer Sales Directive protects consumers when buying goods. The goods must be of a satisfactory quality, fit for purpose for a reasonable time and free from defects. Under the Consumer Sales Directive, if the goods do not 'conform to contract', you may be entitled to a repair or replacement and in some circumstances a full or partial refund.
  • Thoroughly read all paperwork before signing, including any terms and conditions, as they may include consumers' obligations
  • If, as a consumer, you pay for something by bank transfer, you have limited protection
  • Use a UK credit card if you're buying something costing more than £100 and less than £30,000, as section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 may place equal liability with the seller on the credit card company
  • Products covered under the new EU Timeshare Directive (2008) must have a 14-day cooling-off period, with no cancellation costs. Any payment by the consumer is prohibited during the cooling-off period.
  • Report any problems with your flight as soon as possible to the airline
  • Do pre and post-rental vehicle inspections (with photos where possible) when you hire a car. Check what is and isn't covered on the insurance
  • Ensure that any pre-packed goods you are given by the sales person are actually what you want to buy - not a cheaper, inferior model to the one which was demonstrated to you
  •  If an offer seems to be too good to be true, it probably is
  • Don't hand out your bank account, credit card details or other confidential information


Nb. Although the ECC-Net has been going for 10 years, the UK ECC itself only started in 2007.