© Crown copyright 2019
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: email@example.com.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/your-consumer-rights-after-brexit/consumer-rights-and-protection-after-brexit
We are taking all possible steps to provide continuity for consumers and business in both the UK and the European Union. We will keep existing high levels of consumer protections in the UK.
Your consumer rights until 29 March 2019
Your rights as a UK consumer will stay the same while the UK remains in the EU. These protect you when buying goods or services, and you can get help if you’re treated unfairly or when things go wrong. Find out more about your consumer rights.
As well as knowing your rights, it is still important to be aware of possible scams. If you want advice on spotting or reporting scams you can find out more from Citizens Advice.
Your consumer rights in the event of a deal
The UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, there will be an implementation period until December 2020 where your consumer protections will be the same as they are now, whether you are buying something in the UK or from a business in the EU. You will still be able to use UK courts if you are not able to deal with any problems direct with the EU based business itself.
During the implementation period, the UK will negotiate our future economic partnership with the EU.
Your consumer rights in the event of a ‘no deal’
Many of the things UK consumers buy are from businesses based in the UK either on the high street or online. For these sales, your rights will not have changed. You will still be able to rely on the same rights you have now after we leave the EU.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, when buying from a business based in the EU, you may be covered by the consumer protections in the country where the business is based, and how those protections apply to UK consumers may change. UK and EU consumer law is currently very similar. However, countries may have brought in consumer protections in slightly different ways or offer different protections to EU based consumers and non-EU based consumers. You should always check the terms and conditions offered by the specific business and what protections apply to the contract.
If you are unsure where the business is based, for example if you are shopping online, you should verify with the business and check their terms and conditions.
If you have a dispute with a business based in the EU, after exit day on 29 March 2019, it is less likely that you will be able to use the UK courts to try to put things right. If a UK court does make a judgement, the enforcement of that judgement will be more difficult. In that case, you may need to go through the courts of the country concerned rather than UK courts. This will also be the case for things bought before 29 March 2019, if you experience any problems after that date.
Help and advice
For more help and advice you can contact Citizens Advice or the UK’s European Consumer Centre. The UK ECC offers free advice and assistance to consumers who buy goods or services in another EU country (and Norway and Iceland) and experience a problem.
Citizens Advice do not operate in Northern Ireland, and as the statutory consumer body for Northern Ireland all Northern Ireland consumer related queries should be passed through the Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022.
See the related guides on: