E-commerce from a trader in the US

Updated: 8/7/2019

In the US, there might be affordable products that are not available in Europe. But when shopping from the US, it is important to remember that other rules apply.

When shopping from a trader in the US other rules apply. These rules can be found via the link on the right side of this page.

Your rights and your obligations are governed by the contract you sign when you purchase something. It is therefore very important to check the company and read the terms of agreement thoroughly.

Check the company

One way to check the company is to see if the company is part of the industry organization Better Business Bureau’s online report. Better Business Bureau (BBB) is the largest industry organization in the US with the aim of promotion good business ethics. Complaints that have been filed against companies are listed there. Companies that are members of BBB agree to accept mediation and dispute resolution via BBB. If the company lacks information, you can contact BBB and ask them.

Supplementary charges

Commerce from the US is private import and therefore you have to pay import VAT (25%). You may also have to pay customs and shipping fee. Customs duties vary depending on the goods you buy. That means that the product you buy might end up 50-70% more expensive than the price specified in the order.

For more information on e-commerce from the US – see the links on the right side of this page.

How do I file a complaint?

Always start by contacting the trader. If the matter is not resolved, turn to BBB. Remember that only companies who are members of BBB are required to accept BBB as mediators.

Mediation and dispute resolution

If you encounter problems when shopping from a trader within the EU, the ECC-Network may be able to help with mediation or dispute resolution. This is not an option if the trader is

based in the US. But there are organizations that offer mediation and dispute resolution between consumers and companies in the US, for example BBB, as mentioned above. Please find link to BBB on the right side of this page.

Certified e-traders

Check if the e-trader offers other external mediation / dispute resolution should a conflict appear. Such information should appear on the trader’s website. Also check if there is a trust mark on the trader’s website, and if that organization offers mediation or dispute resolution. BBB is running a trust mark project called “BBBonline Reliability”. Certified e-traders are bound to follow a code of conduct.

Report to the Federal Trade Commission

You also have the possibility to file a complaint to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). FTC does not act as mediators or arbitrators in individual cases, but they do investigate fraud.