Thursday, October 1, 2015

Consumer rights in the EU


I’ve just come back from a holiday in Portugal. I booked a tour to see the sights but the coach didn’t turn up on the day. The tour company said we could rearrange another time but this didn’t suit me. Can I get my money back?


When you buy goods or services in another EU member state you have certain rights under consumer legislation, including the right to make a complaint. The consumer laws of Portugal apply to any goods or services you bought while you were visiting there. However language differences and distance can make it more difficult to complain effectively. 

If you are not happy with something you paid for, you should deal with the issue as soon as possible. In some cases, there are time limits for taking certain procedures. Even if there are no time limits set down, it is easier for you and the service provider to deal with issues as soon as possible. 

Keep all relevant documents. It is your responsibility to prove that you paid for the goods or service that you are complaining about. A receipt is just one way to prove that you paid for an item or service. If you paid for the item by credit card, you can use your credit card statement as proof of purchase. 

You should contact the service provider or retailer directly to make your complaint – in this case, the tour company. If you have exhausted the company’s complaints mechanism or you are not happy with their response you should seek advice from your European Consumer Centre (ECC).

The ECC in Ireland is there to support you if you have a problem with a supplier of goods or services in another EU member state. It is part of an EU-wide network of consumer centres and it can help you to solve consumer disputes that arise in other member states of the EU. It does this by trying to solve the dispute directly with the supplier and, if this fails, by referring your case to an alternative dispute resolution body.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330 
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 074 000.

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