What you need to know about your post-Brexit consumer rights in terms of shopping, holidays, mobile charges and more.


The transition period for leaving the European Union ended on 1 January, and consumer rights have changed with it.

When buying stuff from Europe, what changes?

If you buy products from companies located in the UK, consumer rights are not affected.

In the nation where you purchased it, you will have to negotiate with the legal system to get compensation.

The consumer agency, Which?, according to While many consumer rights are based on EU directives, most of them have been integrated into UK legislation.

The U.K., according to Governments, if you pay with credit or debit cards in euros when you buy from companies in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, you can face higher fees. Often, payments will take longer.

What one? In order to find out the legislation applies, it recommends reading terms and conditions while shopping online, as you are not covered in the same way as when purchasing from a UK store. Be mindful that vendors will come from all over the world while shopping on the market.

According to Royal Mail, any item bought online from the EU and sent to the UK may be subject to VAT charges and handling fees depending on the value and whether it is a gift or a commercial item.

Before all duties and fees are charged, parcels can be kept at post offices.

Royal Mail notes, “For items under £135 (excluding gifts), VAT will be charged directly when the goods are purchased online. For goods over £135 (and gifts over £39), Royal Mail may collect VAT and customs charges from the customer prior to delivery. These charges are collected on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs.”

A customs declaration form should accompany all parcels containing goods or gifts sent to the EU from England, Scotland or Wales.

The type for the customs declaration will come into force on Jan. 1. The type of customs form to be completed depends on the package’s contents and meaning. Last name, first name and address, a concise description of the contents and whether it is a gift, sale or return are the necessary details.

What are the latest guidelines for holidays with packages?

The UK government states that if you purchase package holidays from EU firms, if the company goes bust, you are protected as long as the company exists in the UK or actively sells to individuals in the UK.

If the business is not based in the United Kingdom or clearly does not appeal to UK clients, you can review the terms and conditions and make sure you know what happens if the business goes bust. If you are not sure where it is based, consult with the firm.

What about commuting by rail?

What one? It notes that your rights as a rail passenger with respect to domestic train services (and the U.K. component of Eurostar or other cross-border services) are still covered by the existing U.K. Rule, which includes the EU Legislation on the Rights of Rail Passengers.

“If you are traveling in the EU, you will continue to be protected by EU law on rail passengers’ rights as before,” it states.

What if my flights have issues?

There were worries that EU flight reimbursement rights would be lost after Brexit, enabling passengers to sue up to EUR 250 (£ 225) to EUR 600 for delayed or cancelled flights. Although the rules are now enshrined in the law of the United Kingdom, since they are no longer covered by the EU, the government of the United Kingdom could in the future make adjustments to the amount of compensation.

What one? It states that in the case of a qualifying delay or cancellation of a flight, persons are entitled to a re-routing or refund whether they are departing from an airport in the United Kingdom or the EU or departing from an airport outside the United Kingdom/EU and flying to an airport in the United Kingdom/EU on a ‘group carrier’ (an airline with its head office and principal place of business in the UK or EU).

If you are traveling with a non-EU airline and are flying from a non-EU airport, the same duties are not applicable to the airline. In order to continue offering equivalent protection in relation to UK airlines and flights from UK airports, the UK government has introduced these laws.

Airlines which seek to rely on the fact that, because of “extraordinary circumstances” resulting from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, they are not responsible for flight delays or cancellations.


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