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What Can Consumers Expect?

BackA key part of the European Services Directive, brought into UK law in December 2009, is about increasing consumers’ confidence to consider businesses from anywhere in the EU.

It achieves this by setting some basic requirements – ensuring consumers have access to a minimum amount of information and to a complaints procedure no matter where in the EU a business is based.         

Service providers, including businesses that sell goods, will have to make certain information available to their customers as follows:

  • The name, legal status and form, and address of the business
  • If registered in a trade or other similar public register, the register's name and the registration number
  • Particulars of the regulator if subject to an authorisation scheme in the UK or other EEA country
  • The relevant ID number if the service is subject to VAT
  • If carrying on a regulated profession, any professional body or similar institution with which the business is registered, the professional title and the EEA country in which that title was granted
  • General terms and conditions
  • The existence of any contractual terms concerning the competent courts or the law applicable to the contract
  • The existence of any after-sales guarantee not imposed by law
  • The price of the service, where pre-determined
  • The main features of the service, if not clear from the context
  • If required to hold professional liability insurance or a guarantee, information about the cover and contact details of the insurer and territorial coverage
  • The contact details where customers can make a complaint

They may provide this information on their website, in any documents supplied to customers or where the service is provided.

Providers of goods and services will have to supply certain information if a customer asks for it as follows:

  • The price of the service, where not pre-determined, or a sufficiently detailed estimate
  • If carrying on a regulated profession, a reference to the professional rules in the country where they are established and how to access them
  • Information on other activities carried out by the business that are directly linked to the service and measures taken to avoid conflict of interest.
  • Codes of conduct to which the business is subject and the websites from which these are available.

Service providers must resolve complaints as quickly as possible, doing their best to find a satisfactory solution, and inform customers of any codes of conduct or dispute-resolution procedures they follow.

Discrimination against Nationality or Place of Residence 

Service providers must not discriminate on the grounds of nationality or place of residence in the general conditions they make publicly available, or contractual documentation. So for example they are unable to offer different pricing or terms and conditions unless this can be justified by 'objective criteria'.

If you would like further clarification on any point above or any matter linked with choosing a service provider please contact us.

Funded by BIS

The European Consumer Centre for Services is hosted by the Trading Standards Institute and funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.