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The EU and you – consumer rights Presentation by Claire Bradley – Europe Direct Eastleigh
Why vote? The EU referendum will be the biggest decision any of us will need to make for a generation. The outcome of the decision will be profound, particularly if people vote to leave. Everyone’s vote counts, and every vote is important because the effects will be felt by everybody.
The EU doesn’t affect me…. Oh yes it does! EU law is behind - Your employment rights (rights to a written contract/protection from discrimination at work/maternity rights/equal pay/paternity rights/holidays/breaks at work/hours you work - Consumer rights – product safety/protection from unfair commercial practices/protection from misleading/unfair/misleading commercial practices/protection whilst buying stuff online/consumer credit agreements/toy safety
The EU doesn’t affect me… Environmental protection – safe food and drinking water/ traceable food/ protection of wildlife and beautiful habitats/protection of birds/ air quality/water quality/bathing water quality Travelling across Europe/EHIC/visitors from other EU countries to Hampshire - Jobs and trade - Justice rights
So From the quality of the air you breathe, to the water you drink, the range of foods you eat, the safety of the toys your kids play with, the rights you have at work, and your consumer rights and environmental protection, the EU affects your life!
So how does the EU help consumers The EU helps consumers by • Developing rules on product safety (http: //ec. europa. eu/consumers_saf ety/product_safety_legislation/standards/index_ en. htm Developing rules relating to cosmetics Rapid Alert System alerts authorities if a problem is identified!
Food safety The EU has the highest standards of food safety in the world
The EU protects consumers from Misleading Unfair Aggressive commercial practices (criminal sanction in the UK for businesses who try it on) Faulty products, particularly electrical goods
If you buy electrical goods And they fail within 2 years you can get them replaced.
If you buy goods in another EU country And they don’t work or you have a problem with it, then you can get your money back using the European Small Claims procedure
The EU also protects consumers when they are buying financial products This means that consumers are protected when they take out a consumer credit agreement Financial institutions under EU rules have to provide information on things like investment products (ISAs etc) insurance and pensions, in a clear, concise way, which allows consumers to make an informed choice
The EU also protects people who are on holiday - And have taken out a package holiday - Protection for passengers whose flight is delayed or cancelled - Protection for passengers whose train or bus is delayed or cancelled - Low roaming charges - Protection if you have taken out a timeshare - Access to healthcare whilst you are on holiday
The EU also protects consumers by making sure that - Consumers are given clear selling prices - Labelling is clear - Businesses don’t make health claims that they can’t justify
In the event of Brexit A substantial percentage of these rights and protections would stop applying. This is because EU law applies in the UK in two ways Directives are passed as law at EU level and then the UK Parliament passes an Act of Parliament implementing the EU law. Regulations apply once they are passed at EU level.
This causes a major problem if Britain pulls out altogether As there are many more regulations than directives. Once we pulled out, none of the Regulations would apply any more, unless we introduced them back into the UK legal system.
At the moment ordinary people Benefit from a lot of consumer protection under EU law A number of those protections would disappear if we left.