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Your Rights When Buying Goods Abroad

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 9 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Consumer Rights Buying Goods Abroad Eu

So many of us take trips abroad these days and while we're there we spend money on items to bring home, often consumer goods rather than just souvenirs. Abroad has become a shopping destination; according to statistics, almost 25% of Britons do their Christmas shopping overseas these days. But one thing we rarely consider is what rights we have when we make those purchases. Depending on where you buy, you could be very well covered.

When Your UK Rights Apply

You have your statutory U.K. rights (to items to satisfactory quality, for the purpose described, fitting any description given and matching any samples you're shown) as well as the rights of the country where the seller's based if you signed a contract for the goods and services in the U.K. and the seller advertised the item here, or if you bought the goods or services in another EU country on an excursion organised by the seller to encourage you to buy those goods or services.

You'll find, in general terms, that your rights as a buyer are the same throughout the EU, since consumer law in each country comes from EU directives.

When Your UK Rights Don't Apply

If you buy a service abroad that's not normally provided in the U.K., buy insurance abroad, buy or rent property or transport, then you'll find that only the rights of the EU country where you made the purchases apply, and you won't have your usual U.K. rights.

Guarantees

If the goods or services come with a guarantee, whether the guarantee is enforceable depends on the law of the country where you made your purchase. In practice, it may be possible to get a repair or replacement under a guarantee if the manufacturer has a firm in the UK and the guarantee is enforceable.

Problems

As soon as you discover a problem with the goods or services, you should contact the seller. Stop using the goods immediately and find your proof of purchase. Write and explain the problem, stating whether you want a refund, repair, replacement or compensation (if the goods are dangerous, also contact Consumer Direct - www.gov.uk). Enclose copies of your proof of purchase or your service agreement.

If you're not happy with the response you receive, find out if the company is a member of any organisation that might offer a mediation service. Note, however, that if you use this service, its decision is legally binding, so you might not be able to take any court action later. Alternatively, you could write to the owner/manager of the company and to the credit card company if applicable, repeating your complaint and giving them fourteen days to resolve the problem, after which you will consider taking legal action. Send the letters by recorded delivery. Keep copies of all your letters and a note of any phone conversations you have in connection with the problem.

If the seller makes you an offer, you can either accept or continue to negotiate. But be realistic about what you decide to accept. You may not get a better offer by going to court.

If the seller or the credit card company doesn't respond, refuses to act, or makes a final offer you're not willing to accept, then going to court may be your only choice. Before starting a court action, though, consider whether you have enough evidence, and you also need to find out if the seller's solvent - there's no point suing someone who has no money. Remember, too, that with a non UK- based company it may be very difficult to take legal action or to enforce an award. If you've paid with your credit card it may be possible to take action solely against the UK credit card company.

Outside The EU And Credit Cards

When your make purchases of good and services within the EU, you have their consumer protections. However, outside that - if, say, you made purchases in Thailand or the U.S., then your rights are those of the country where you made the purchase, and those can vary wildly. In every case you should get the name and address of the seller in case of a problem and keep your receipts, including credit card receipts.

Wherever you buy, if you pay with a U.K.-issued credit card and the bill is £100 or more, the credit card company may be equally liable for any breach of contract - if, for example, the goods are faulty. In practice it may prove easier to get your money back from the credit card issuer than a foreign-based company.

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[Add a Comment]
Hellywelly5 - Your Question:
We purchased a full diamond eternity ring from St Maarten in March 2017 for a 35th wedding anniversary gift for £2.5k. On wearing it for just 1 month a diamond fell out. I asked the shop if I could return it, they suggested sending it back via FedEx at my own cost (which would be £50+). Upon receipt, the ring would be repaired and returned to me - but I would have to pay the tax. I then took it to several local jewellers who confirmed that the ring setting is very poor, the quality of the diamonds are poor and the ring is not fit for regular wear. They said due to the loose stone settings another diamond will no doubt fall out. We paid with my bank debit card. The shop will not offer me a refund. If I have it repaired in the UK it will cost £175 and the work cannot be guaranteed. What can I do ?

Our Response:
We're not sure what you can do about this really. We cannot find out what the faulty goods legislation is on St Maarten. If the ring was really expensive you may simply have to accept that you pay the £50 return costs to have it repaired. Try you bank (the card with which you paid), to see if they are able to do anything.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 11-Oct-17 @ 10:20 AM
We purchased a full diamond eternity ring from St Maarten in March 2017 for a 35th wedding anniversary gift for £2.5k.On wearing it for just 1 month a diamond fell out.I asked the shop if I could return it, they suggested sending it back via FedEx at my own cost (which would be £50+). Upon receipt, the ring would be repaired and returned to me - but I would have to pay the tax. I then took it to several local jewellers who confirmed that the ring setting is very poor, the quality of the diamonds are poor and the ring is not fit for regular wear.They said due to the loose stone settings another diamond will no doubt fall out.We paid with my bank debit card.The shop will not offer me a refund.If I have it repaired in the UK it will cost £175 and the work cannot be guaranteed.What can I do ?
Hellywelly5 - 9-Oct-17 @ 3:49 PM
Good evening, I wondered if you were the person to help as I have tried many avenues with little success. I was recently on my honeymoon in Dubai where I purchased a bracelet at the gold souks in a shop called southern jewellery. I have now come home to Scotland 6 weeks later the bracket has broken/snapped in two places. I am deeply upset about this as it was not cheap. The problem is the website that was on there business card does not work and I not don't know where to turn to as I can't just pop into the shop to speak to them. Any help would be appreciated.
Julie - 21-Sep-16 @ 7:49 PM
sad consumer- Your Question:
You I bought a 3 seater & 2 seater sofa & footstool from sofology in Dec 14 on a payment plan, £2755. Also took out accidental damage insurance. Year later Dec 15 back cushions split in the middle where they met on 3 seater and started to split in the same place on 2 seater , not covered by insurance. Company offered to replace leather on back cushions without assessing sofas, naively I accepted , however when leather was changed there was another fault with 3 seater leather , so more leather was ordered which arrived in May. Engineer refused to fit because of different colour of leather , I have now been informed that leather changes colour every 6 months but was not told this originally in Dec and engineer also identified a further fault in 3 seater and footstool. Store offering £280 to keep faulty sofas or £2000 credit note to go and chose another sofa in store even though to replace sofas would cost me more. Do you think this is acceptable when the sofas are clearly faulty and now have mismatched leather on both sofas. In the past 8 months since the sofas started to split , I have had to make numerous calls to company and not once have they contacted me , they refuse to let me have copies of the engineers reports even though I signed and dated them and today I spent 2 hours on the phone to them trying to get a resolution before they finally offered me the £2000 credit note. I had asked them today to replace the sofas as both engineers have confirmed they are faulty and unrepairable, however they are refusing due to the fault not developing until the sofas were a year old and so I have had usage out of them ( their words ).The agent today admitted they made an error back in Dec by ordering new leather and not coming out at that point to assess the sofas. I feel I have been let down very badly by this company and would appreciate advice.

Our Response:
It sounds as though the offer of a £2000 credit note is quite reaonable in the circumstances, given that you have had a good 12 months use from the furniture before the cushions split.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 11-Aug-16 @ 12:22 PM
You I bought a 3 seater & 2 seater sofa & footstool from sofology in Dec 14 on a payment plan, £2755. Also took out accidental damage insurance . Year later Dec 15 back cushions split in the middle where they met on 3 seater and started to split in the same place on 2 seater , not covered by insurance . Companyoffered to replace leather on back cushions without assessing sofas, naively I accepted , however when leather was changed there was another fault with 3 seater leather ,so more leather was ordered which arrived in May . Engineer refused to fit because of different colour of leather , I have now been informed that leather changes colour every 6 months but was not told this originally inDec and engineer also identified a further fault in 3 seater and footstool. Store offering £280 to keep faulty sofas or £2000 credit note to go and chose another sofa in store even though to replace sofas would cost me more . Do you think this is acceptable when the sofas are clearly faulty and now have mismatched leather on both sofas. In the past 8 months since the sofas started to split , I have had to make numerous calls to company and not once have they contacted me , they refuse to let me have copies of the engineers reports even though I signed and dated them and today I spent 2 hours on the phone to them trying to get a resolution before they finally offered me the £2000 credit note . I had asked them today to replace the sofas as both engineers have confirmed they are faulty and unrepairable, however they are refusing due to the fault not developing until the sofas were a year old and so I have had usage out of them ( their words ).The agent today admitted they made an error back in Dec by ordering new leather and not coming out at that point to assess the sofas. I feel I have been let down very badly by this company and would appreciate advice.
sad consumer - 9-Aug-16 @ 6:30 PM
Tommy tourest - Your Question:
I have emailed with form two or three times now but for some reason each time only part gets dilivered?

Our Response:
Who have you emailed?
ConsumerRightsExpert - 11-May-16 @ 12:35 PM
I have emailed with form two or three times now but for some reason each time only part gets dilivered?
Tommy tourest - 8-May-16 @ 11:40 PM
Tommy tourists- Your Question:
Tommy tourist continuedThe two gentlemen was talking about that this model was even dearer than $399 and that we have got a very good deal but they are men of their word, there was a lot of shouting between the colleagues the elderly salesman was holding the card machine in front of me to enter my card and pin which I did they then bagged the two go pro's and and put the paperwork in a envelope and showed me that he was putting it in the bag, we was glad to leave the shop and returned to our hotel to leave the bag in the room, we then continued our day sightseeing.Early the following morning we left New York to fly on to Mexico, it was on arrival at our new resort whilst unpacking that I opened the bag to inspect the Go pro's and also opened the envelope and was devastated to see the invoice and BC slip was for $3266.25.Due to the time difference I was unable to contact my son in England until the following morning 13/4/16 to contact BC on my behalf, But I did write this account of what happened and emailed it to him.I have since spoken to BC from mexico and they say nothing can be done as I entered my pinThey have put the account on hold for twenty eight days time for me to get home and fill in a complant pack?

Our Response:
have you told the credit card company that you feel you were misled into to paying this amount? We don't have the first part of your story to get the details unfortunately.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 18-Apr-16 @ 2:24 PM
Tommy tourist continued The two gentlemen was talking about that this model was even dearer than $399 and that we have got a very good deal but they are men of their word, there was a lot of shouting between the colleagues the elderly salesman was holding the card machine in front of me to enter my card and pin which i did they then bagged the two go pro's and and put the paperwork in a envelope and showed me that he was putting it in the bag, we was glad to leave the shop and returned to our hotel to leave the bag in the room, we then continued our day sightseeing. Early the following morning we left New York to fly on to Mexico, it was on arrival at our new resort whilst unpacking that i opened the bag to inspect the Go pro's and also opened the envelope and was devastated to see the invoice and BC slip was for $3266.25. Due to the time difference i was unable to contact my son in England until the following morning 13/4/16 to contact BC on my behalf, But i did write this account of what happened and emailed it to him. I have since spoken to BC from mexico and they say nothing can be done as i entered my pin They have put the account on hold for twenty eight days time for me to get home and fill in a complant pack?
Tommy tourists - 16-Apr-16 @ 11:23 PM
@B. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act is there to protect you and should help you if you make a purchase for goods or services that fail to materialise, are faulty, are poor quality or are inadequate in some other way. In these instances you have the option to place a claim with your credit card provider right away (there is a section 75 claim form that you can use). Any purchase you make by credit card while you are abroad will also be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, providing it falls within the £100 - £30,000 inclusion range. The only area where a credit card company could deny liability under the act is where an additonal card holder paid (rather than the principal cardholder). This doesn't sound like it's this is the case in your own circumstances though. So get back to Mastercard and ask them about your rights under section 75 and why they don't apply.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 2-Jun-15 @ 1:03 PM
Hiya I was wondering if you can help me with problem I having with my purchase I made outside of EU On a recent holiday to Dubai my husband brought me as a gift, a jewellery set (necklace, bracelet and earring) worth approx £880.00 and paid with his MasterCard credit card. On our return back to UK I noticed that a total of 9 stones had fallen out, 8 from bracelet and 1 from the earring. I contacted the jeweller but unfortunately due to language barrier I was not understood very well, i ask to speak to the manager but he was in a meeting. The assistant promised he would call me but I am yet to receive a call from him. I have tried to call them on numerous time but with no success. My husband approached the post office credit card company and their response was 'they regret to informyou that unfortunately in this case, under the MasterCard Europe rules, we have no dispute rights for chip & pin verified transactions'. We have been advised to pursue the matter with the merchant directly or through other channels. I would be very grateful if you can advise us if the above quote is correct and would appreciate your thoughts on this matter
B - 30-May-15 @ 7:53 PM
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