Terms of Trade
This page outlines the terms of trade that bloomsbuds.com complies with as set out by European Union Consumer law. Please visit here for more information on EU consumer law. https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/shopping/index_en.htm
Wherever you buy a product or service in the EU the trader must provide you with clear, correct and understandable information about the product or service before you make the purchase.
This contract information should include:
- the main product characteristics
- the total price inclusive of taxes and all charges
- delivery costs, (if applicable) – and any other additional charges
- arrangements for payment, delivery or performance
- the trader’s identity, address and telephone number
- the duration of the contract (if applicable)
Some of this information may not have to be provided explicitly, if it is apparent from the context – such as the characteristics of a product which are displayed on a shelf in the shop.
Moreover, if you buy online, by telephone, by mail order catalogue or from a door-to-door salesperson, the following more detailed information must also be provided before you make a purchase:
- e-mail address of the trader
- any delivery restrictions in certain countries
- the right to cancel your order within 14 days
- available after-sales services
- dispute resolution mechanisms
- trade register number of the trader
- professional title and VAT details of the trader (if applicable)
- professional association to which the trader belongs (if applicable)
For such purchases, you should bear in mind that you do not have to pay any delivery costs or other charges of which you were not informed.
Prior information forms part of the contract unless you and the trader jointly agree on changes to the terms given on, for example, the trader’s website.
Contracts must be written in plain and understandable language and cannot contain unfair contract terms.
In some EU countries, the right to receive confirmation for your order, to cancel it and other legal requirements do not apply to door-to-door purchases of less than EUR 50.
Specific information requirements apply when you buy digital content online, e.g. when downloading or streaming music or video. Before you make the purchase, you must also be informed how the content operates with relevant hardware/software (interoperability) and about its functionalities, including whether any geographical restrictions apply to the use of the content and if private copies are allowed.
Your consumer rights under EU rules normally also apply to purchases from non-EU online traders targeting consumers in the EU. However, you may have difficulties in asserting your rights with traders based outside the EU.
It’s always good to check where the trader is registered. An internet address ending “.eu”, “.ie”, or “.co.uk”, etc. does NOT guarantee that the trader is based – and registered – in the EU.
Once you have made a purchase online or from a door-to-door salesperson, you must receive written confirmation of your transaction. The confirmation must be on paper or on another durable medium such as e-mail, fax or a message to your personal account on the trader’s website – provided it is something you can store and which the trader cannot unilaterally change.
Traders who provide after-sales telephone lines for consumers must make sure that such calls are charged at the basic rate. It is forbidden for traders to require consumers to use, for example, premium-rate telephone lines to make enquiries or complaints about their purchase or contract.
Pricing and payments
When you buy goods or services in the EU, you have to be clearly informed about the total price, including all taxes and additional charges.
For online purchases, you should explicitly acknowledge – for example by pressing a button – that you are aware that placing your order implies an obligation to pay.
Traders in the EU are not allowed to charge you extra for using your credit or debit card. The only exceptions to this rule are American Express/Diners Club cards and business or corporate credit cards, where your employer is billed instead of you. If you use these cards, you may still be charged a fee but the fee can’t be more than what it actually costs the trader to process your payment.
You should be aware that if you’re paying in EU currencies other than euros, you may still be charged a currency conversion fee by your card provider when you use your card in another EU country.
You must give your consent to any additional payment requested by the trader, for example express delivery, gift wrapping or travel insurance.
A trader is not allowed to charge you for these services unless you explicitly opted for them. Using a pre-ticked box on the trader’s website does not constitute such consent, so you would be entitled to reimbursement of any payment which has been collected in that way.
Traders must tell you the full price (including taxes and charges) before you pay
Ewa from Poland bought some books from an online trader. However, her credit card was charged more than the final amount displayed at the point of sale on the trader’s website. Ewa realised the company had not included delivery costs, and had only added this on after she had completed her purchase.
As EU rules oblige traders to display correct and complete pricing information before a customer makes a purchase online, Ewa reported this matter to both the company and the Polish authorities. After intervention by the authorities, she was refunded the difference.
As an EU national you can’t be charged a higher price when buying products or services just because of your nationality or country of residence. Some price differences can be justified, if they are based on objective criteria other than nationality.
Sometimes price differences can be justified
Bart, from the Netherlands, visited his friend in Germany and went to a swimming pool. He was charged a higher price than local residents, and wondered if this is unlawful price discrimination.
In this case, the price difference is justified. The swimming pool is run by the local authority and financed by local taxes, so local residents have already contributed to the running of the pool and therefore enjoy a lower entry price.
You can’t be charged more just because of your country of residence
Hilda from Denmark wanted to book a hire car in Spain for her summer holidays. She chose the car she wanted to book on the website of a Spanish car rental company. However, when she entered her address to finalise the reservation, she saw that the total price for her car rental increased by EUR 140.
Hilda contacted her local European Consumer Centre to complain about this price discrimination. They requested that the car rental company bring their website in line with EU rules.
EU rules on pricing also apply when you buy travel tickets, such as flights or train tickets, either online or in person. This means that when you buy your tickets, all taxes, fees and charges must be included and appear in the total price from the beginning of the booking process. This makes it easier for you to compare prices with other travel operators.
Any optional supplements (such as travel insurance) must be clearly indicated as such and suggested only on an opt-in basis.
For the purchase of airline tickets, if you discover unclear online pricing when booking a flight, you can report it to the national authorities in your EU country of residence.
VAT – Value Added Tax
As a private individual shopping in the EU, you should only pay VAT once, in the country where you make your purchase.
You can bring home anything you buy in another EU country, without stopping at the border or making a customs declaration. The only condition is that your purchases must be for your own or your family’s personal use, and not intended for resale.
If you are visiting from outside the EU you are entitled to a VAT refund on goods you have bought during your stay in the EU if the goods are shown to customs on departure within 3 months of their purchase together with the VAT refund documents. These are normally prepared by the seller although, as the scheme is voluntary, not all merchants participate. Some countries set a minimum value of purchases to qualify for a refund.
Special rules may apply when you buy goods from another EU country for delivery to your country of residence. If the company you buy from sells goods over a certain value to your country, where the goods are delivered, they cannot charge VAT in the country where you make your purchase.
Instead, they have to apply VAT in the country where the goods are delivered – VAT of destination. The maximum amount for these cross-border sales is set by each EU country at either EUR 35 000 or EUR 100 000. This means that most major online retailers delivering within the EU will have to apply the VAT of destination rule.
Sometimes you may pay a higher VAT rate
Lucie, from Belgium, orders a book from a large online retailer in the UK. When she pays for the order and enters her address, she notices that the price has suddenly gone up. She checks the reason and discovers that the company has charged her Belgian VAT at 6% instead of UK VAT at 0%.
In Belgium, the maximum limit to be able to deliver goods without paying Belgian VAT is EUR 35 000. This means that a company which sold more than EUR 35 000 in goods to Belgium during the previous financial year must apply the VAT rate of the country of destination. The company Lucie has ordered from delivers frequently to Belgium and therefore has to charge her Belgian VAT, even though her book is being shipped from the UK.
This rule does not apply to second-hand goods, works of art, collectors’ items or antiques.
If you buy tobacco products or alcoholic drinks online from another EU country, the price will include excise duties, regardless of the quantity and even if the goods are a gift.
The trader is responsible for paying the excise duty due in the EU country of destination.
You should therefore expect the price for these types of goods to reflect the cost of excise duty. If the price is very low, make sure you check with the seller if the duty has been paid before you make your purchase. If the seller hasn’t paid the excise duty, your goods can be seized by customs on arrival or you may be required to pay the excise duty yourself. You should always make sure that the seller will pay the necessary excise duty in the EU country of destination.
If you buy goods online from outside the EU, VAT, customs and excise duty is always due.
VAT on telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services is charged in the country where you live (the country where you are established, have your permanent address or usually live), and not in the country from where you purchase the service. These rules apply to services puchased both within and from outside the EU.
VAT on digital content is from the country of residence
Senta, lives in Sweden and purchases eBooks from a Finnish online book seller. The Finnish supplier must charge her Swedish and not Finnish VAT.
When you buy services online from a trader established in the EU, you pay the VAT rate of the country where the trader is established. This rule also applies if you live in a different EU country from the trader.
Paying VAT in the country where the trader is established
Joao runs a consultancy company which is based in Lisbon. He provides consulting services to a private individual living in Copenhagen. As Joao’s company is registered in Portugal, he has to charge his Danish customer Portuguese VAT.
However, there are many exceptions to this rule. Some of the most common exceptions are:
- Services provided by an intermediary: VAT is charged in the country where the main transaction with the intermediary takes place. For example,if the owner of a summer cottage in France wants to move some furniture to her home in Sweden and asks an intermediary to find a company that will take care of the removal. French VAT will be due on the intermediary’s commission fee because the main supply (i.e. the transportation of goods between 2 EU countries) takes place at the point of departure.
- Services linked to immovable property are taxed where the property is located. For example, if an architect based in France is hired to design a house in Spain. The architect’s fee will be subject to Spanish VAT.
- Passenger transport is taxed according to the distance covered. For example,if the price of a bus ticket for a journey from Poland to France via Germany will include Polish, German and French VAT, in proportion to the distance covered in each country. If the bus also travels via Switzerland, there will be no EU VAT on that part of the journey, as Switzerland is not an EU country.
- Restaurant and catering services (other than those on board ships, aircraft or trains) are taxed at the place where the services are physically carried out. For example, if a company based in Luxembourg supplies the food and drinks for an event in Florence. The company must charge Italian VAT.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive.
For new cars bought in another EU country, VAT is paid in the country where you import and register your car (your country of residence). This VAT scheme also applies to other new means of transport, such as large motorbikes, boats and aircraft.
Find out more about paying VAT when you buy a vehicle in another EU country.
Shipping and delivery
If you do not collect your purchase straight away or have ordered it for delivery at home the trader should deliver it to you within 30 days – unless you specifically agreed on a different delivery time.
You must always be clearly informed of the total price for your purchase, including delivery and other related costs.
Different prices for delivering items to foreign countries can be justified.
You must give your explicit consent to any additional costs, for example if the trader wishes to offer you express delivery, or gift wrapping. Using a pre-ticked box on the trader’s website does not constitute such consent and you would be entitled to reimbursement of any payment which has been collected in this way.
The trader is responsible for any damage to the goods from the time of dispatch until you receive them.
Remember that if an item you bought anywhere in the EU turns out to be faulty or doesn’t look or work as advertised you are entitled to ask for it to be repaired, replaced or, where neither is possible, a refund. Find out more on guarantees.
If you don’t receive the goods within 30 days, or within the mutually agreed period, you must remind the trader giving an additional, reasonable time limit to deliver. For example, if the trader has informed you that delivery is delayed by a week because of problems with his suppliers you should consider giving him an extra week.
If the trader still does not deliver within the extended deadline you’re entitled to terminate the contract and be reimbursed as soon as possible. You do not have to give the trader an extension if he refuses to deliver or when an agreed delivery period is essential, for example, if the goods in question are needed for a specific event, for example a wedding dress.
In mid-November Andrej from Slovakia ordered a case of wine online from Italy for his family’s Christmas celebrations. Christmas came and went, without the wine being delivered.
As the product was not delivered within 30 days, even though he had reminded the trader and given him some additional time to deliver, Andrej is entitled to a refund from the trader.
Guarantees and returns
Under EU rules, a trader must repair, replace, reduce the price or give you a refund if goods you bought turn out to be faulty or do not look or work as advertised.
If you bought a good or a service online or outside of a shop (by telephone, mail order, from a door-to-door salesperson), you also have the right to cancel and return your order within 14 days, for any reason and with no justification.
Find out specific conditions to invoke guarantees and withdraw from purchases:
Free of charge, 2-year guarantee (legal guarantee) for all goods
Under EU rules you always have the right to a minimum 2-year guarantee at no cost, regardless of whether you bought your goods online, in a shop or by mail order.
This 2-year guarantee is your minimum right. National rules in your country may give you extra protection: however, any deviation from EU rules must always be in the consumer’s best interest.
If goods you bought anywhere in the EU turn out to be faulty or do not look or work as advertised, the seller must repair or replace them free of charge or give you a price reduction or a full refund.
As a general rule, you will only be able to ask for a partial or full refund when it is not possible to repair or replace the goods.
You might not be entitled to a refund if the problem is minor, such as a scratch on a CD case.
How to get goods repaired, replaced or refunded
The 2-year guarantee period starts as soon as you receive your goods.
- In some EU countries you must inform the seller within 2 months of discovering a fault, otherwise you may lose your right to the guarantee.
- Within 6 months of receiving the goods, you need to show the trader that the goods are faulty or not as advertised.
- After 6 months, in most EU countries, you need to prove that the defect already existed on receipt of the goods – for example, by showing that it is due to the poor quality of the materials used.
The trader always has to provide a solution. In some EU countries you also have the right to request a remedy from the producer.
The European Consumer Centre in your country can help if you have a problem with goods you bought in or from another EU country.
Non-conformity of goods is not always immediately apparent
Mirek ordered a laptop, which appeared to work well. However, more than a year after buying it, he discovered that it had less memory than it was supposed to have.
Although this problem had not been obvious to him immediately, and the laptop was still functional, it nonetheless did not conform to what was advertised or agreed when he bought it. Mirek was therefore able to obtain a partial refund from the shop.
Additional guarantees (commercial guarantees, warranties)
Shops or producers will often offer you an additional commercial guarantee (also referred to as a warranty), either included in the price of the product or at an extra cost.
This can give you better protection but can never replace or reduce the minimum 2-year guarantee, which you always have under EU rules.
Similarly, if a shop sells you a new product more cheaply on a ‘no guarantee’ basis, this only means that you don’t have any additional protection. You always have the right to a 2-year guarantee free of charge if the product turns out to be faulty or not as advertised.
Your 2-year legal guarantee cannot be shortened by a commercial guarantee
Carla bought a hairdryer with a 6-month seller’s guarantee.
When it broke after 8 months, she took it back to the shop. The shop assistant told her that her guarantee had run out, and that she was not entitled to a refund.
Carla rightly pointed out that she had a full 2-year guarantee free of charge under EU consumer protection law, and that the seller’s 6-month guarantee only offered additional services. The shop agreed to replace the hairdryer.
Second–hand goods that you buy from a trader are also covered by the minimum 2-year guarantee. However, goods bought from private individuals or at public auctions are not covered.
In some EU countries, the buyer and seller can agree to a guarantee period of less than 2 years, but it must be no shorter than 1 year. This should be made clear at the time of purchase.
For more detailed information about your rights under national law, check the specific rules on legal guarantees and commercial warranties for the country where you made your purchase: