How does Brexit affect consumer rights?

Even though many of your consumer rights are based on EU directives, most have been incorporated into UK law.

This means many of your consumer rights will stay the same after we’ve left the EU, unless they are overhauled by Parliament in the future.

EU law will continue to apply after the UK has left the EU on the 31 January 2020, and at least until the end of the transition period.

On the day the UK formally leaves the EU, the European Union Withdrawal Act will come into force.

Existing EU laws will stay the same, unless the UK government decides to change them.

Future trade deals and you 

The UK is at a pivotal moment that will decide how we all live – and how well.

Trade deals negotiated between the UK and other global nations will decide what products and services you can buy and their quality and cost - from the food we eat to the safety of products in our homes.

It could also determine whether you’re protected if something goes wrong, how you travel and take holidays, and how your data is protected and shared.

Find out how Which? wants the government to champion British consumers when negotiating new trade deals.

What happens when the UK leaves the EU?

There will be a post-Brexit transition period until the future relationship between the UK and the EU is negotiated. During this time, there will be no changes to your consumer rights.

Currently, this 'implementation period' will begin on 31 January 2020 and end on 31 December 2020.  

Passports and EU travel after Brexit

During the transition period, there will be no immediate changes to the way you travel. If you’re due to renew your passport, you may now receive a new style blue one instead of the maroon style EU passports.

Regardless of what style UK passport you have, you can still travel to EU countries as normal, and you can still join the EU travellers queue on arrival at immigration.

Will Brexit affect my pet passport?

No changes have yet been made to pet passports, or the way your pets travel to and from EU countries. The same rules still apply.

Travel by plane after Brexit

You can continue to fly to Europe as usual. No changes have been made to the way you enter or leave EU countries.

Travel by car after Brexit

There will be no immediate changes to the way you cross the borders of EU countries by car. You’ll still need to remember to take your driving licence with you.

Watch out for Brexit scammers

Fraudsters might take advantage of the confusion around Brexit to trick people into sending them money.

Watch out for these Brexit scams which might be used before, during and after the UK's departure from the EU.

Card surcharges after Brexit

You’re still able to use your Mastercard or Visa debit and credit cards without having to pay a surcharge or booking fee when you buy goods and services from retailers based in the EU.

Product safety after Brexit

The UK swill still benefit from EU agencies and regulatory bodies responsible for conducting safety assessments during the transition period.

UK consumers can still access the Rapid Exchange of Information System (RAPEX) website to see what EU-wide product recalls have been issued.

The RAPEX system is the EU rapid alert system for unsafe consumer products and consumer protection - the alerts contain information about dangerous products, the risks of these products and the steps being taken at national level to prevent or restrict marketing of the product.

Shopping outside the UK after Brexit

All the same consumer rights still apply to goods and services bought from retailers based in the EU during the transition period.

When you shop online, read the terms and conditions to see what governing law applies, as you won't be protected in the same way as if you bought from a UK retailer. If you're buying from a marketplace, be aware that sellers can be from all over the EU. 

A lot of our laws are the same as other EU countries, but the right to get a refund after 30 days for a faulty product  is UK specific.

GDPR data protection law after a no-deal Brexit

The Data Protection Act 2018 remains in place to protect your personal data. All the rules still apply, but once the transition period comes to an end the UK government will be free to change those rules.

Alternative-dispute resolution (ADR) after a no-deal Brexit

The Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform run by the European Commission will still be accessible to UK buyers and sellers until at least the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. 

Small claims court after a no-deal Brexit

If you’re about to start a small claim, or have an ongoing claim against a retailer based in the EU, the process will remain the same until at least the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

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