Buying from Outside the EU – Consumer Advice

Buying goods that do not originate from inside the EU is where things start to get a little indistinct. Your consumer rights are normally governed by the consumer law in the country from where your purchase originated and sometimes this may be difficult to establish.

If you have an issue with something you have bought, the first step is to communicate with the seller. You could telephone, write or send an email.

If you do not appear to be resolving the issue directly with the seller you could try a consumer complaints body in the country you have purchased from.

o   Australia: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

o   Canada : Office of Consumer Affairs in Canada

o   New Zealand: Ministry of Consumer Affairs in New Zealand

o   South Africa: Provincial Consumer Affairs Offices in South Africa.

o    United States: The Better Business Bureau can help with complaints about goods or services that you’ve bought from a trader based in the US

Important Tip: Consider making the purchase on your credit card and claiming against the credit company if something goes wrong. You are normally covered for purchases of more than £100 and less than £30,000 for a single item.

There are a number of participating countries that keep an international consumer complaints database. You can register your complaint on the database if you feel that your complaint was not resolved to your satisfaction. Find out more here.

These are the participating countries:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • UK
  • United States.

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