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Expat Investor : November 2008
SPENDING Consumer rights (and wrongs) for the cross-border shopper Got a dispute running with a retailer in another European country? Here’s a round-up of case studies from the UK European Consumer Centre, an organisation which champions consumer rights. Where Are My Tickets? “I ordered tickets over the Internet for an event/festival/concert that is happening this weekend. The company, which is based abroad, has not delivered the tickets and I cannot contact them.” In order to make an informed choice when you buy tickets over the Internet, you must insure that you read the terms and conditions available on the website, with particular attention to clauses concerning time of dispatch and refund policy in case of cancellation of the event or late dispatch of ticket. Also check if there are any additional fees, and if the ticket agent has provided information on the location of the seat or space. The face value of the ticket should also be stated. In case of failure to deliver goods, if you were told that the tickets would be delivered within 18 EXPAT INVESTOR ? 3–5 days before the event/festival/concert and this has not happened then the seller may be viewed as in breach of contract. In the EU you also have rights under the Distance Selling Directive 97/7 which states that goods or services should be delivered within 30 days (unless agreed otherwise) and the contract shall be treated as if the consumer never entered into it. If you are in a situation where your tickets have not been delivered then we suggest trying all known phone numbers for the company, but if this is not successful then you may need to consider putting your complaint in writing. You should send a recorded delivery letter to all known addresses to the company stating that the tickets were not delivered. You should ask for a refund within a fixed deadline (that is 14 days) and do not have to accept alternative tickets or vouchers (unless you want to do this). November 2008 Include copies of correspondence and order references and make sure you make a copy of the letter sent to the company for your own records. If you have purchased your ticket with a UK credit card and the tickets were over £100 then you should contact your credit card company. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 you can hold the credit card Company equally liable for a breach of contract. Watch whose gold you’re buying The UK European Consumer Centre advises consumers to make sure that they are getting what they pay for, when making a purchase. In a recent complaint a consumer purchased from a Spanish jeweller what she believed to be a white gold engagement ring which then turned a yellow colour. A well-known jeweller in the UK then affirmed that the ring was in expatinvestor.com fact a yellow gold ring that had been plated to look like a white gold ring. After seeking advice from the UK European Consumer Centre on her consumer rights the consumer managed to get a full refund. Consumers should also be aware of traders who appear to be related to well-known jewellers, but in fact sell nothing more than cheap imitations. To prevent getting ripped off, the UK European Consumer advises consumers to bear in mind the following: ? is the price too good to be true? Would a diamond ring costing £1,000 from a high street jeweller really cost only £50 from an online auction? If in doubt use the European Consumer’s ‘Howard’ tool, the online, interactive shopping assistant available from our website at www.ukecc.net ? you may be over the moon with your good news, but remember the same item may be cheaper elsewhere so compare prices. ? make sure the jewellery comes with any relevant certification and proof, don’t be afraid to ask the trader for this. ? if in doubt after purchase get the item looked at by a recognised professional, ask for their results in writing. Some countries may have a compulsory hallmarking scheme in place which is your independent guarantee that the item is actually what it claims to be. European countries with a compulsory independent hallmarking scheme are the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Estonia. Latvia, Cyprus, Poland, The Czech Republic and Slovakia. A merry or a sorry Christmas? “I would like to do my Christmas shopping online this year as I do not have enough