Great Britain left the EU on January 31, 2020. Although the relevant agreements are in place, the longer-term relationships are still not clear. If there is no viable trade or association agreement between the European Union and Great Britain by the end of 2020, the scenario of a so-called “no-deal Brexit” threatens again. So the British exited from the EU without an agreement.
This would presumably be the worst option for everyone involved. Then from one day to the next, nothing would be the same as before.
What would a “no-deal Brexit” at the end of 2020 mean for consumers?
Anyone planning a vacation, shopping online at retailers from Great Britain, or anyone doing business with banks or investments should keep an eye on a possible “no-deal” at the end of 2020. When shopping online there is a risk of taxes and customs. When traveling to the UK, overseas travel insurance is more important than ever.
A no-deal Brexit will not change the quality, effectiveness, and safety of drugs. The European Medicines Agency has moved its headquarters from London to Amsterdam. Temporary bottlenecks in the supply of certain pharmaceuticals due to a no-deal Brexit are unlikely but conceivable. Unfortunately, such bottlenecks can be observed again and again. The EU Commission, the European Medicines Agency, and the national regulatory authorities will monitor the situation very closely after a no-deal Brexit and advise affected patients and doctors if necessary.
If possible, get things done in the UK before December 31, 2020. Everything is open.
What to consider when traveling
UK travel rights are largely the same as those of the EU and will apply until the country introduces new rules after a Brexit that will take a while. However, there are still some uncertainties, especially when it comes to an entry visa, bus travel, illness abroad, roaming, and travel with UK package dealers.
What to consider when shopping online
When shopping online from a UK seller, here are some things to consider now.
Various EU consumer protection rights also apply to you for purchases outside the European Union. For example, you can return the purchased product within 14 days and are entitled to a refund of the purchase price. You are still entitled to at least two years of warranty on your product. And you are protected against unfair business practices such as advertising with false prices.
But be careful. It can be very difficult to enforce these rights outside the European Union in a dispute in court. Because in addition to a German court that may decide for you according to local regulations, a British court must then always be called in, which will examine again – and may come to a different conclusion under British law. There are currently rights of withdrawal in Great Britain – after leaving the EU, however, Great Britain can set such standards differently.
In the event of a conflict between consumers and retailers based in Great Britain, consumers will no longer be able to use the EU platform for online dispute resolution in the future. Because if Great Britain leaves the EU without an agreement, the EU regulation on out-of-court dispute resolution and online dispute resolution no longer apply to Great Britain.
So when you buy more expensive online, you should really think twice about ordering from retailers outside the European Union. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact your consumer advice center.
What to consider when dealing with money
If you have an insurance policy, a loan, a bank account, a financial investment, or a pension with a provider from Great Britain, the main thing before a possible no-deal Brexit is – don’t rush it!
In particular, the stock markets and the exchange rate of the British pound have reacted to events such as the announced Brexit with strong price fluctuations. Even if Brexit takes place, that can happen. Investors should be patient, however, hasty decisions run the risk of losing money.
Experience shows that turmoil in the financial markets can sometimes go as quickly as it came. Turbulence can also last for years and losses can be permanent. In any case, no one can foresee long-term changes in trends.
Private investors who hastily buy or sell shares, investment funds, and/or other securities because of Brexit are acting contrary to their original, long-term investment strategy. Regardless of whether this decision turns out to be correct, the transactions will again cost fees.