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Purchasing abroad

When travelling, many people take the opportunity of purchasing something for bringing home, either for themselves or for other people. Goods bought abroad may also prove defective, so you should be aware of what to do in such a case.

In case of cross-border purchases, you should know that:

  • as to purchasing goods and services, the laws of the country where the seller is located are applied;
  • when shopping in the European Union (EU), you as a consumer are protected more or less with similar rights in all member states, and the similar rights are in force both when purchasing  from Norway and Iceland;
  • when buying goods in the EU member states, you can count on the right to submit a complaint within at least two years regarding the defects present in the product, but for this you must have the document which confirms the purchase, e.g. buyer's cheque or a card payment statement;
  • in all the EU member states the sellers of the goods or services are not obligated to give you a buyer's cheque, so, in such cases, ask for it yourself when making the purchase;
  • if you detect a defect in the goods bought from the EU member state within six months after purchasing it, it is assumed that the defect has been there at the moment of purchase, unless the seller certifies otherwise;
  • six months after purchasing the goods in the EU member state, the seller has the right to ask you to certify that the defect found in the product is caused by manufacturing and not by misuse.

If you discover a defect in the goods bought abroad:

  • lstop using the defective product;
  • find the product's sales documents (e.g. buyer's cheque, warranty certificate);
  • submit a complaint to the product's seller, preferably in writing, and attach copies of the sales documents;
  • know that the sellers of popular trademarks (e.g. consumer electronics) have representative offices in every EU member state, so the problem can be resolved in Estonia as well;
  • know that if the seller has an authorized representative in Estonia, this fact must be disclosed in the documents enclosed with the goods, e.g. on the warranty certificate;
  • know that if you receive an answer from the seller with agenda to your complaint, you have to decide whether the proposed solution is acceptable or not;
  • be prepared that the resolution of the problems related to the goods bought abroad may take more time, as the seller has the right to inspect the product before resolving the problem;
  • know that you have to make an agreement with the seller upon the way of returning the product;
  • if the defect is caused by manufacturing, the seller has to bear all the expenses related to resolving the problem, e.g. transportation costs;
  • know that if negotiations with the seller do not deliver acceptable resolution, contact the EU Consumer Centre, which you can address for specifying your rights even before submitting your complaint to the seller.

In case of defective goods, you have the right to demand from a seller who is doing business in the EU:

  • elimination of the found defect free of charge (repairing the product) or substituting the product with a new one;

  • termination of the contract and refunding or decreasing the sales price, if the product's repair or substitution is impossible or unreasonably expensive (e.g. due to the product's transport costs for sending it to other country and back again).

In order for you to be feel safe when shopping in other EU member states, and to know what to do and who to contact in case of problems and failed purchases, in every member state, as well as in Norway and Iceland, there are special European Consumer Centres, or ECC-s, which form the cooperative network, i. e. European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net). The network's operation is coordinated by the European Commission.



  • Although the legislation of an EU country may provide a higher level of protection for you as a consumer, the EU legal acts have established the lowest level of consumer rights, which you can surely count on in every member state.
  • When buying goods in the EU member states, you can rely on the right to submit a complaint within at least two years. Traders can offer sales guarantees, too, but no commercial guarantee in any EU country can alter or decrease your above-mentioned basic rights.
  • If the company which you bought defective goods from has a representative office in Estonia, before deciding in favour of guarantee repair in Estonia, please make sure on which terms and conditions this service is rendered.
  • If you have bought goods or services from the third countries then unfortunately, the EU Consumer Centre cannot help you.