EU leaders hope to use the game to teach young people about their consumer rights, after a proliferation of online spending and apps over the past two years.
The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Consumers has set up what is described as an educational escape game aimed at 16-24 year olds.
The online game on europa.eu/youreuright/game aims to raise awareness among young internet users and online shoppers about consumer rights, said the European Consumer Center (ECC Ireland).
Key elements in the game include consumers’ right to a 14 day cooling off period, as well as product safety facts. It also contains advice on how to deal with abusive consumer contracts and the right to repair or replacement under the EU’s two-year product warranty.
ECC Ireland, which is part of a block-wide network providing advice to the public, said: “When shopping online you are entitled to a 14 calendar day cooling off period, during which you can withdraw from the contract and return your purchases. “
He added that this is an EU consumer right to have a defective product repaired or replaced:
Safety concerns should be reported, the body said.
“If you discover that something is not sure, immediately alert the seller and the authorities in your country. You should also claim compensation because a product must be safe during its intended lifespan. “
ECC Ireland has stated that some consumer contracts have hidden terms, by which they can limit a seller’s liability. “It violates your EU consumer rights,” he added.
Almost two-thirds of European adults shopped online last year, with Munster and Leinster among the EU regions spending the most online.
As expected, young people are much more likely to shop online than older people, results from the European Commission’s data analysis wing showed last month.
Eurostat said that people aged 25 to 34 were 2.5 times more likely to have used the internet for shopping (83%) than people aged 65 to 74 (33%).
When it comes to Irish shoppers’ habits, the people of Leinster are among the biggest online consumers in Europe, with Munster not far behind.
The growth in online shopping has coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic, data shows.
Dublin and the Midlands fell from 68% of people shopping online in 2019 to 84% last year, while Munster fell from 69% to 77% in the same period. Surprisingly, the West and North decreased their online shopping as of 2019, from 57% to 53% last year.
Almost two-thirds of online purchases in the EU were for clothes, shoes or accessories, followed by furniture, home accessories, gardening products and food deliveries.