Author: ECC-Iceland

Black Friday, the European and even global shopping phenomenon, offers the allure of unbeatable prices and incredible deals. However, not all ad promises hold true. We offer seven vital tips for safer Black Friday shopping, empowering you to separate genuine bargains from the rest.

  1. That new hairdryer is not supposed to give up so soon

Whether it is Black Friday or any other day, you deserve products that last. In Europe, you are covered by a legal warranty, even on discounted goods. This means that if your hairdryer or any other product proves to be faulty, you are entitled to a replacement or a refund for up to two years after your purchase.

  1. Online purchases come with a return window

When you shop online, the convenience of trying on products in-store is not available. Whether it is a pair of trousers or headphones, getting the perfect fit is a concern. To address this, you have the freedom to return your purchases within 14 days without the need to provide a reason. We suggest communicating your decision in writing, such as via email to the trader. However, please note that certain items, such as online-booked travel, perishable goods like food, and personalized items such as engraved jewelry, may not be eligible for a return.

  1. A trustworthy online shop has more to offer than payment in advance

Online shops have the freedom to choose the payment methods they offer. It is their responsibility to inform customers about the available options before customers finalize their orders. Shops that only accept advance payment should be approached cautiously. In case of any issues with the product, the worst-case scenario would be the loss of money. European law dictates that no additional fees should be charged for commonly used payment methods such as credit card, SEPA direct debit, and SEPA bank transfer.

  1. Swipe with confidence: Credit card payments can be undone

While Black Friday brings tempting shopping deals, it can also come with dubious offers and scams. One crucial tip to safeguard your finances: Choose to pay with a credit card. Credit cards provide you with the ability to cancel unauthorized transactions through a chargeback process, addressing concerns such as fraud or erroneous duplicate charges. Your first step should be an attempt to resolve the issue with the trader, and if that doesn't work, contact your bank to initiate the chargeback.

  1. Too good to be true: Beware of that extra cheap cardigan

Have you ever stumbled upon an online store that promises clothing at unbelievably low prices, with each item available in a rainbow of colors? Those pop-up discount notifications seem to follow you everywhere, and they insist that these rice cuts are only available for today, or that the product will be gone in a flash? It is quite possible that this store is practicing dropshipping, which is legal but may come with downsides for customers. The products usually originate from the Far East, which can lead to complications if you need to return them. Furthermore, they may not always meet European health and quality standards and could pose potential risks.

  1. Online shops use ‘almost sold out’ tactics to pressure you

It's a common tactic used by many online shops: messages like 'almost sold out,' 'ten other people have this product in their basket,' or 'only 3 items left.' These manipulative marketing strategies are known as dark patterns, designed to influence and pressure you into making a quick purchase. But is the offer truly as great as it seems if you don't even have time to consider it? We strongly encourage consumers to recognize these dark patterns for what they are and not let them rush you into a decision. If the product does happen to be sold out, remember that there may be alternative, even more affordable offers elsewhere.

  1. Stay zen and save the environment

Our final tip may come across as common knowledge, but its importance cannot be underestimated. Black Friday often symbolizes overconsumption, a throwaway culture, and increased CO2 emissions from online shipping. In other words, it is a dark day for the environment. That's why we suggest the following: For every item that remains in stock, the environment wins, and so does your wallet.

Yesterday the host structure for ECC-Iceland, The Consumers´ Association of Iceland (Neytendasamtökin) celebrated their 70-year anniversary.

The association was officially established on a well sought meeting on the 23rd of March 1953.

In January 2003 the Consumers´ Association made a contract with the ministry about hosting ECC-Iceland (then EEJ). So, it has been our host structure for over 20 years.

To celebrate this event Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, minister of consumer affairs, was invited to our offices at Guðrúnartún 1.

(Lilja Alfreðsdóttir minister of consumer affairs and Breki Karlsson Chairman of Neytendasamtökin)

The President of Iceland, Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, held a reception at Bessastaðir (the presidential estate) in honor of this event.

(Einar Bjarni Einarsson Lawyer with ECC-Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson President of Iceland and Ívar Halldórsson Director of ECC-Iceland)

There we had the chance to talk shortly about general consumer rights in Europe as well as the ECC-Net.

We send our best wishes to The Consumers´ Association and we are grateful for a very fruitful cooperation for the last 20 years.

On 15 March we celebrate World Consumer Rights Day. For the occasion, the European Consumer Centres Network shares five smart tips for the next time you buy online.

1. ‘Buy now, Pay Later’ is not always a good idea

More and more online shops are offering „buy now, pay later“ (BNPL) plans as a payment option. This mean you buy and receive what you have ordered first – and pay after. BNPL has some advantages. It allows you to try out a product before you make your decision on if you want to keep it. Do you send back your order? Then you don’t have to wait for the refund, as you never made any payment.

However, it’s good to be aware of the disadvantages of this payment option, too. ‘Buy now, pay later’ smoothly merges the payment methods of invoicing and paying in instalments. This means BNPL often takes the form of a loan agreements, which bears risks. If paying later is the only way you can afford a purchase, it may be best to keep your distance and avoid the unintentional accumulation of debt. Also be aware that you may have to pay additional fees if you do not make your payment in time.

2. Don’t be fooled by dark patterns

Dark patterns are marketing tricks designed to manipulate us and persuade us to buy a product. Think of ‘limited offers’ that only offer you a certain discount if you make the purchase right now. Being aware of these marketing tricks can help relieve some of the pressure you may feel. Our advice: take your time and compare prices and products before making a decision.

3. Double-lock your mobile wallet

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a veritable boom in contactless payments. More and more consumers use mobile wallets: smartphone apps that allow us to store bank and credit cards, travel tickets, membership data and more in one digital place. These mobile wallets are generally considered secure. They encrypt your data and cannot be accessed by traders or other people. But as your wallet stores a lot of sensitive data, it is still a good idea to protect it with two-factor authentication or an additional password.

4. Consider using a credit card

Did your order fail to arrive or do you suspect an online shop is a fraud? Contact your credit card provider and ask for a chargeback. Credit card chargeback procedures will often allow you to cancel your payment. Do note: you will need to prove that you have attempted to clarify the situation with the trader first.

5. Set up a price-drop alert

Some shops raise prices ahead of promotion days like Black Friday, only the lower them again and market them as discounts. Are you saving up to buy something? Then watch and compare prices throughout the year or use an online tool that set up a price-alert for a certain product.

Further information can be found on our ECC-Net website,

Nú í janúar eru 20 ár síðan Neytendasamtökin tóku við rekstri Evrópsku neytendaaðstoðarinnar (e. European Consumer Centre) á Íslandi með samningi við Viðskiptaráðuneytið. Evrópska neytendaaðstoðin aðstoðar neytendur sem eiga í deilum við seljendur yfir landamæri innan Evrópusambandsins, Noregs og Íslands. Aðstoðin er ókeypis og felst meðal annars í ráðgjöf, upplýsingagjöf og milligöngu, ef á þarf að halda.

Aukið traust í viðskiptum
Í hverju landi fyrir sig er rekin sjálfstæð neytendaaðstoð sem saman mynda net miðstöðva (e. ECC-Net) sem leiðbeina neytendum um rétt sinn og hjálpa til við að leysa ágreining. Til dæmis gæti evrópskur ferðalangur sem er ósáttur við viðskipti sín við íslenska bílaleigu leitað til aðstoðarinnar í sínu heimalandi sem síðan hefur samband við aðstoðina á Íslandi. Neytandi frá Íslandi sem kaupir gallaða vöru eða þjónustu á Spáni getur að sama skapi haft samband við Evrópsku neytendaaðstoðina á Íslandi, á íslensku. ECC-Netin vinna saman að lausn mála og tryggja að fjarlægð frá seljanda og tungumálaörðugleikar komi ekki í veg fyrir að neytendur geti sótt rétt sinn gagnvart seljendum sem brjóta á þeim. Með því er skapað traust á millilandaviðskiptum.

European Consumer Centre Iceland
Málum sem koma á borð Evrópsku neytendaaðstoðarinnar á Íslandi fjölgar jafnt og þétt með aukinni árvekni neytenda. Á fyrsta starfsári Evrópsku neytendaaðstoðarinnar á Íslandi bárust 7 mál samanborið við 304 mál árið 2022. Þar af leituðu 173 Íslendingar sér aðstoðar vegna seljenda í Evrópu og 131 Evrópubúar vegna íslenskra seljenda. Starfsfólk aðstoðarinnar er í góðu samstarfi við eftirlitsaðila, stjórnvöld og neytendasamtök í Evrópu til að tryggja hag og rétt neytenda.

In the context of inflation, rising energy prices and product shortages, Black Friday will have a particular importance for consumers this year.

But beware, sometimes slogans like "best deal" hide false promises or even fake shops that don't actually exist. The famous "only three items left" is a popular trick to put customers under pressure.

With our five shopping tips, you are on the safe side and well prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

1. Check if the online shop is safe and legitimate

Before you start shopping online, take a good look at the website. Be sure to check the imprint and the general terms and conditions.

  • Are both sections available? Are they complete?
  • Is a plausible postal address given? Don't hesitate to check the address with the help of online mapping services.
  • Call the given number to test whether it is taken and whether someone picks up.
  • Check out review sites to see whether other users have had problems with the shop or, on the contrary, have left positive reviews.

2. Check if this is a real deal

During promotion periods, both the discounted price and the price without discount must be displayed. The price before promotion must be the lowest price charged in the last 30 days for traders inside the EU. This however has still not been implemented in Iceland – but Icelandic traders must proof that they have sold a product on the provided prior price, before it was lowered.

Our tip is to observe product prices over a longer period of time. If you notice that the indicated non-discounted price is not the lowest of the past month, you may be dealing with unfair business practices.

3. Resist the pressure

"20 other people are looking at this item" or "only three items left”: Many websites, mobile applications, social networks and even search engines use so-called dark patterns to put pressure on you.

Some shops also try to influence our buying behaviour with countdowns or shaming buttons like " No, I am silly and don't want to benefit from a 20% discount".

You will need strong nerves but in the end, you will be glad you did not fall for the trick.

4. Make sure to choose a safe payment method

  • If you pay online, make sure you have a secured internet connection
  • Vertu viss um að vefslóðin byrji á „https“ og að „lokaður hengilás“- merkið birtist hjá slóðinni.

  • Don’t save your bank details on your mobile phone, your computer or any shopping platforms
  • Set a maximum amount for one-off payments for your credit card
  • Avoid payments by bank transfer

5. Make use of the legal guarantee

You benefit from a legal guarantee of conformity on all new or second-hand goods (furniture, car, computer, household appliance, etc.) purchased from a seller based in Iceland or in the European Union.

The legal guarantee of conformity lasts for a minimum of 2 years. If your product is faulty, you can ask the seller to repair or exchange the product or, if these two solutions are not possible, to reimburse you.

Don't forget: When buying online, you usually have a 14 days cooling-off period to change your mind and return the product. Find out more about your right of withdrawal our website. here.

According to a news article published on the website of The Consumers´ Association of Iceland, the association has put the car rental, CC bílaleiga ehf - City Car Rental., on their “shame list”. The Association advises consumers against doing business with that trader.

The reason for that is that CC bílaleiga ehf. has on three occasions lost cases that were submitted by consumers to the complaint board of goods and services (Kærunefnd vöru- og þjónustukaupa).In all three cases the trader rejected to honor the rulings.

According to the article, the claims of the consumers were various and consisted of high amounts.

In one case the consumer had cancelled his car rental booking but had to pay the full amount. The complaint board found in favour of the consumer – that he had the right to receive 75% reimbursement for the amount of 166.500 ISK, as the cancellation terms of the trader were clear.

In the second case the complaint board ruled in favor of the consumer and the trader should refund him 215.000 ISK for the service of a tow truck in relation to a malfunction of a rental car.

In the third case the committee ruled in favour of the consumer, that had demanded a refund for 73.900 ISK due to an alleged damage to a rental car. There was no dispute in the case that the damage had occurred, but the committee believed that the car rental had not proved the extent of the financial loss.

The list of companies on The Consumers´ Association “shame list” can be found here.

When your holiday becomes more expensive than expected - Watch out for (hidden) additional costs

Rising energy prices top the list of main worries at the moment and many consumers will have to limit their travel budget. It is all the more annoying when hidden extra charges pop up during your well-deserved holiday. For World Tourism Day, ECC Iceland explains how consumer can detect and, more importantly, avoid these additional costs.  

Additional costs in hotels

Who is not familiar with this situation? After a long journey, one would like to recover in the hotel room right away. To do so, you sometimes need to check in earlier. However, this is often charged separately. Extra charges for breakfast or parking fees have also become common practice. A local tourism tax is levied in several European countries, for instance in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany and Malta.

On top of that, low-cost hotels in particular charge user fees for the use of safes and TVs in the room. Fast Wi-Fi often costs extra. In Spain, guests are sometimes asked to pay for luggage storage. In the Netherlands, you may have to pay for the use of hairdryers. Also, if you want to borrow a bathrobe in France or Finland, you'll have to pay an extra fee.

Other fees may be added: In Spain, France and Italy, umbrellas and sun loungers cost extra at many public beaches.

Good to know: Before concluding the contract, the vacationer must be informed by the contract or the general terms and conditions which services are included and which are not, and what they cost extra. If there are additional services offered at the location (towel rental, use of faster Internet, etc.), there must be a clear indication of the additional costs on-site at the latest.

Additional costs for package tours

The European package travel law provides that, under certain conditions, the organizer can increase the travel price by up to 8% even after booking. The prerequisite is that

  • • the contract contains such a price adjustment clause,
  • • the traveller was informed of this by means of a form before the contract was concluded,
  • • this clause provides not only an increase but also a decrease in the price of the trip,
  • • the price increase is communicated at least 21 days before departure
  • • the calculation of the new price is transparent
  • • and the costs of fuel and kerosene, port or airport taxes have increased, or the exchange rates have changed. Other cost increases may not be passed on to the customer.

However, if the cost increases were foreseeable at the time of booking or if one of the above conditions is not met, you may refuse payment. Conversely, the price increase is also effective without your consent if all the above conditions are met.

In case of price increases of more than 8%, the organizer must inform you and request that you explicitly accept the increase within a certain period or withdraw from the contract. If you do not respond within this period, the price increase is considered as accepted. So, make sure to respond in time if you do not wish to accept the offer.

Additional costs for flights

Before booking, travellers must be informed of the airfare, including all taxes, fees and surcharges. However, airlines often help themselves out here with a trick: additional services that used to be included in the ticket price are now charged extra. Examples: Check-in at the airport (instead of online), checked baggage, seat selection, meals.

Tips on how to Recognize & avoid additional costs

  • • Read offers carefully and check which services are included before you book. In case of doubt, contact the hotel or the tour operator.
  • • Read costumer reviews to see if other guests have complained about unexpected additional costs.
  • • Ask for the bill before the end of your stay to detect extra charges early on
  • • If you have to pay to be able to check in or out at all, note "Payment subject to reservation" on the invoice. Immediately write to the hotel management or the organizer.
  • • Book cancellable rates. These might be a little bit more expensive, but may save you high cancellation fees in the end.
  • • Before choosing an extra travel insurance: Check if the insurance on your credit card is sufficient.
  • • If you book "all inclusive" you will have fewer surprises when it comes to food and beverage costs.
  • • Book well in advance.
  • • Use a less popular airport.
  • • Book in the off-season or on weekdays that are less busy.
  • • Instead of using the hotel parking: Switch to free public parking lots.

-What are your rights?

After recession of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a vast increase in tourism between countries. There has been news about long ques at airports that has in the worst cases lead to passengers missing their flights, even though they were at the airport in due time. The reason for these long ques is that many airports have failed to hire enough staff. Airport security has been mentioned in that regard, as new staff members must undergo a special training.

But what are the rights of passengers that are at the airport in due time but misses their flights as check-in or going through security takes too long?

The short answer is that the rights are not completely clear.

The airports are responsible for the security check, but there have been some bottlenecks that has led to passengers missing their flights. As the passenger does not have any direct business contract with the airport, the situation is quite tricky.

Passengers always have the option of getting a refund of airport taxes for unused flights. It is worth to mention that some airlines charge a higher service fee for such a refund than the amount of the airport tax.

If unusual delay with the check-in leads to passenger missing their flights, for example due to staff shortage, it could possibly be looked at as non-compliance on behalf of the airline. Given that the passenger arrives at time and in accordance with the information the airline has provided in the contract.

It is the airlines responsibility to have enough staff at the check in desks and make sure that self-check in booths works. Passengers would have to proof that they arrived in time, such as taking a picture of the clock in the departure hall.

We are not aware of this going to court or to other bodies here in Iceland.

Some airports more difficult than others

Nokkrir flugvellir hafa hafa verið nefndir sérstaklega í fréttum þar sem raðir og örtröð hefur valdið ferðalöngum miklum vandræðum; Manchester, Heathrow, Dublin, Arlanda Stokkhólmi og Schiphol í Amsterdam. Þá hafa dönsku  Neytendasamtökin Tænk vakið athygli á töfum á Kastrup flugvelli. Svo slæm var staðan á flugvellinum í Dublin að 1.400 manns misstu af flugi síðustu helgina í maí. Þurfti forstjóri flugvallarins að mæta fyrir samgöngunefnd írska þingsins og útskýra hvernig flugvöllurinn hyggðist bæta úr málum. Mikil örtröð hefur einnig verið á Arlanda flugvellinum í Stokkhólmi en eigendur vallarins þurftu einnig að útskýra sitt mál fyrir þingnefnd. Arlanda hefur gefið út að búast megi við meiri biðröðum en venja er út sumarið.

There have been no news of passengers missing flights here in Iceland due to long ques. It is however advisable to be at the airport in time, three hours before takeoff


ECC Poland has made an informational document regarding various consumer rights that could be beneficial for Ukrainian refugees. In the documents are the most common rights explained. Usually the legislation within the EEA is quite compatible - but there could be some minor discrepancy in some cases. 

The documents are both in English and Ukraine.

Інформація щодо прав споживачів і подорожей доступна українською мовою

Європейський споживчий центр у Польщі розпочав роботу щодо визначення та перекладу основної правової інформації про споживача, яка може бути важливою для біженців з України, які прибувають до ЄС. Наведені нижче інформаційні бюлетені підсумовують різні проблеми щодо прав споживачів та подорожей для біженців з України та тих, хто їм допомагає. Інформаційні бюлетені містять інформацію як англійською, так і українською мовами.


Long-term and short-term accommodation in the EU

Включає інформацію про:

  • Короткострокове проживання (готелі, хостели)
  • Довгострокове проживання (договори оренди/найму)

Довгострокове та короткострокове проживання в ЄС_UA.pdf

Long-term and short-term accommodation in the EU EN.pdf


Mobile phone service in the EU 

Включає інформацію про:

  • Реєстрацію SIM-карти
  • Поради щодо вибору постачальника послуг мобільного зв’язку




Right to a basic bank account

Включає інформацію про:

  • Як відкрити банківський рахунок в ЄС
  • Для чого саме може знадобитись банківський рахунок?




Passenger rights in the EU (general and air travel)

Включає інформацію про:

  • Права пасажирів повітряного транспорту (скасування рейсу, затримка, відмова у посадці, проблеми з багажем)
  • Права авіапасажирів з інвалідністю або обмеженою рухливістю




Passenger rights (trains, coaches and boats)

Включає інформацію про:

  • Залізничний, автобусний та водний транспорт (наприклад, пороми)
  • Повернення коштів та зміна маршруту




Renting a car in the EU

Включає інформацію про:

  • Міжнародні водійські права
  • Оплату кредитною або дебетовою карткою
  • Депозити та страхування
  • Скасування




Legal and commercial guarantees

Включає інформацію про:

  • Купівлю товарів в ЄС
  • Невідповідність (дефектні продукти, неправильний опис продукту тощо)
  • Юридичну гарантію
  • Повернення та ремонт




Cancellation rights (cooling-off period)

Включає інформацію про:

  • Повернення придбаного товару
  • Вимоги щодо надання інформації про продавця



Europe Day is celebrated 9th of May each year. On that date in 1950 Robert Schuman, then the foreign minister of France, presented a declaration proposing the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community – which you could say was the beginning of The European Union.

The European Union has for example proposed multiple legislation to protect consumers in Europe.


Below is a video showing some of the legislation from the EU