Consumer protection is an important issue in the EU. The European Commission and the European Parliament work to strengthen consumer rights. There are five basic consumer rights in the EU: the right to protection of health and safety, the right to protection of economic interests, the right of redress, the right to information, and the right to be heard. Etymologically, the term consumer comes from the classical Latin word consūmere, which means to destroy, wear away, and eat up among other meanings.
In the EU, consumers have a wide choice. If a product is sold in one EU country, it can be sold in all other EU countries. To make sure the consumer understands the instructions, it is mandatory to provide the manual in the language of the EU country where the product is sold.
If consumers want to buy an electronic appliance, they compare prices and functions. The EU energy labels from F (worst) to A (best) empower the consumer to easily compare the energy and water consumption of a washing machine, for example. The EU also established a legal guarantee of two years.
Furthermore, the European Union made the process of online shopping more consumer-friendly. Consumers have the right to receive the product within 30 days. If they are unhappy with their purchase, they can return it within 14 days without stating a reason. The EU is also currently working on reducing high delivery prices and prohibiting the automatic redirection of consumers to a country-specific online shop with higher prices.
The European Union also works to protect vulnerable consumers. This includes the complete banning of aggressive sales techniques that involve harassment, physical force, or profiting from unfortunate circumstances. This includes, for example, lottery scams, or unwelcomed door-to-door sales techniques.
Tomorrow, the first EU citizens can cast their votes. Do not miss this opportunity between the 23rd and 26th to have a say in the future of Europe. If you want to learn more about the election, sign in into thistimeimvoting.eu or click here. Go and motivate your friends and family to vote too, by telling them what Europe does for them.
Written by Annemarie Menger – Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and a student of the Master’s Program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. She holds a teacher’s degree in the form of the First German State Examination for Elementary Education, a BA in Cultural Basic Skills and an additional degree in Global Systems and Intercultural Competence from the University of Würzburg.