Fled the war in Ukraine? Building a future in the EU? You and your family are protected by EU consumer protection law for the duration of your stay in the Union. This set of laws keeps dangerous products off the market and makes sure you are treated fairly whether you’re buying clothes online, electricity for your home or signing a mobile phone contract. We’ve teamed up with the European Commission to roll out a campaign across Germany to make sure you are aware of your rights and know how to use them.
Consumer rights protect and empower everyone
EU consumer law is there for you whether you’re buying goods or services online or in a brick-and-mortar shop. It:
- Protects you when you spend money.
- Empowers you to make informed purchasing decisions.
- Ensures you can take proper action if things go wrong.
The rights are valid across the Union so you’re protected when you buy in your new home country and in another EU country.
Some key rights for you, as recent arrivals in the EU, are detailed below.
Know your rights
Your safety comes first
Product safety is at the heart of consumer protection. Products for sale in the EU must be safe and public authorities and manufacturers all have their part to play in making sure this is the case.
EU laws set down standards for products including toys, childcare items and household items. Manufacturers commit to respecting these rules during production and many indicate that their products are safe using the CE mark, where relevant. If things do go wrong, national authorities can alert the EU’s Safety Gate which is a warning mechanism that flags the problem to 30 countries (the 27 EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) so that they can act quickly to protect consumers.
Your right to have a bank account
As you start to build a new life, rent an apartment, buy things for your family and maybe even work you’ll need a bank account.
You have the right to open a basic bank account in any EU country, regardless of the EU country you are living in. This is commonly known as a current account. Conditions will vary between countries and between banks, but as long as you have official permission to live in an EU country, you cannot be refused.
Before opening the account the bank must provide you with information on:
- The most important services offered on the account.
- All related fees.
Your passenger rights
When travelling in the EU, you have rights. Make sure you know them so that you can use them.
If you’re travelling by plane you are entitled to different types of compensation or assistance depending on whether your plane is delayed or
cancelled and the duration of the delay. Find out more on the EU’s website on air passenger rights.
Taking the train? You also have rights if the rain is cancelled, delayed or you miss your connection. The compensation varies from a full or partial refund to re-routing your journey at a later time. These rights only apply to journeys made in the EU. Find out more at the EU’s website on rail passenger rights.
If you have a disability you must be allowed to travel on planes, boats, planes, coaches and buses, like anyone else. You are entitled to:
- Clear and accessible information about the journey and the facilities available to you from the company selling the ticket
- Free assistance at terminals and on board vehicles.
The only reason you can be refused transport is because of the design of the vehicle or real safety issues.
Your right to a fair contract
So much of what we purchase now depends on the signature of a contract. EU rules protect you when you sign up to a service. Contracts for things like mobile phones, energy suppliers and car insurance must:
- Be written using simple, easy-to-understand language.
- Be fair and not loaded in favour of the seller (for example you must have a reasonable amount of notice before a contract automatically renews).
- Give you 14 days to change your mind and withdraw from a contract that is concluded either online or off-premises.
- Not use misleading and/or confusing contractual terms.
Remember, third party liability car insurance is obligatory in the EU. This type of insurance protects other people and vehicles if you have an accident. Take it out if you are driving in the EU.
Your right of return and to a guarantee
More and more of us are shopping online and we’ve all made purchases we’ve come to regret. EU rules give you:
- The right to return the product within 14 days, no questions asked if purchased online.
- A minimum two-year guarantee in case the product turns out to be faulty or doesn’t work as advertised.
Spread the word
Help Ukrainians around Germany, share the website on your social media and use the hashtags: #EUConsumerRights and #StandWithUkraine