The Consumer Lawyer

Buying from an overseas trader

The internet has created a Worldwide shopping community where it has become normal practice, and indeed easy, to purchase goods from traders from around the globe. For many this be a great experience, as it provides greater choice and cost savings. However, from the amount of horror stories I hear from consumers who purchased goods from traders overseas it is clear that it can also be a minefield, fraught with problems. So, the next time you take a shopping trip online, consider these points before you click on the buy now button on an overseas website:

Your rights

In the UK we have some of the best consumer laws in the world. In particular, the Consumer Rights Act, which effectively governs the purchase of goods and services (made after 1 October 2015) and greatly protects and empowers consumers when there is a dispute. Unfortunately, the moment you shop with a trader overseas, these laws cease to apply and therefore do not protect you.

If you shop with a trader within the EU, there are EU laws that will protect you. However, once you venture outside of the EU the position gets far more difficult and unsatisfactory. The concept of ‘consumer protection’ is therefore lost on many countries outside of the EU.


If you really feel that you need to grab a bargain from a trader overseas use your credit card for the purchase. If the purchase is for an amount greater than £100 and something goes wrong, you will be able to call upon the card provider to refund you. This is thanks to a law known as ‘Section 75′ (Consumer Credit Act).

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