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Home News, Press releases Did the product go wrong you bought abroad? Do you have problems with the foreign companies?

Did the product go wrong you bought abroad? Do you have problems with the foreign companies?

Advices of the European Consumer Centre Hungary

It may often happen that during staying or having holiday abroad or purchasing online the goods purchased from a foreign trader become defective, some quality problem arises. Recently more and more complaints like this have been received by the European Consumer Centre Hungary (ECC) hosted by the Hungarian Authority for Consumer Protection, therefore we would like to call the attention of consumers to the most important issues.

Our experiences show that the reason of the most frequent problems is that consumers are not aware of the risks and difficulties when buying from foreign companies. In case of buying in the EU the European consumer protection provisions set common minimum rules for the member states, however, according to the report made by the European Consumer Centres Network the extent and content of the legal protection may differ from country to country.

Most common problems and information:

  • he content of the consumer rights (repair, replacement, price discount, refund) if purchasing from a trader in another EU country is basically the same than in the Hungarian legislation, but the time limits of claims, the burden of proof concerning the cause of the defect may be different in the various countries, and sometimes may be even more advantageous than the Hungarian ones.
  • If the product bought in a foreign shop or webstore goes wrong, the enforcement of consumer rights may be problematic, and besides the language barriers geographical distance may limit the personal contact as these companies does not have a customer centre in Hungary.
  • In case of a product bought abroad or in a foreign webshop the Hungarian instruction manual is often missing, in addition sometimes the household appliance fails to comply with the Hungarian technical requirements, thus the product cannot be used.
  • In case of durable goods purchased abroad (e.g. technical, communication products) the mandatory warranty scheme does not apply and protect the consumer, thus the warranty sheet is not provided with the product.
  • The Hungarian official service of the given product brand in most cases does not undertake to provide repair free of charge, as they are not a contracted party of the foreign trader. It means that the product shall be returned to another country for repair or replacement to the designated service provider or to the trader (recommended to track the package), and its costs shall be paid by the consumer in advance, thus being in a vulnerable position until the decision of the trader (no product, no money). Apart from this if a repair service not being a contracted party of the trader carries out the repair it may happen that the trader denies the even justified claim referring to unlawful exposure.
  • It may happen that the so-called extended warranty offered by the trader in return for an additional fee does not cover higher protection for the consumer as those set by legislation, so before buying extended warranty it is useful to inquire about its detailed conditions, territorial scope and grounds of exclusion.

Should a consumer encounter any problem with or quality complaint about a product purchased abroad and the foreign seller is not willing to ensure the guarantee rights of consumers based on either legislation or contract, the consumer can contact the European Consumer Centre seeking advice or help to settle the problem. The Hungarian consumers can contact the Centre if the company concerned is seated in another EU member state or Norway or Iceland.

The European Consumer Centre provides free professional, legal help and makes efforts to reach an agreement between the parties in order to avoid a potentially lengthy and costly cross-border litigation procedure. Further useful information is available on the Centre’s website (www.magyarefk.hu ) concerning the management of cross-border quality complaints.

 

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This website is part of the action 670686 — ECC-Net HU FPA which has received funding under a grant for an ECC action from the European Union’s Consumer Programme (2014-2020).

The European Consumer Centre Hungary is committed to publish professional, accurate and up-to-date information on its website. Nevertheless it shall be underlined that the content and information appearing on the website represents the views of the author only and it is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains. Furthermore the content of the website do not have a legally binding effect in the frame of administrative procedures conducted by the consumer protection authority or by other public bodies and in the alternative dispute procedures or in civil procedures, either.