Getting goods from abroad can be tricky, but a legal track exists

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SOMETIMES even Consumer Helpdesk is stumped. So we didn’t really know what to make of a complaint from a reader in Germany who ordered a kilt but did not receive it.

The company concerned maintained it had supplied the kilt, and later, a refund. However the customer still maintains she got neither. We asked the nice people at Brodies solicitors what the law says on such matters.

QI am living in Germany, I only read the Scotsman online. Nevertheless, you may be able to help me with a problem I have with a Scottish company collecting money, but not delivering. The company is A. S. Campbell Ltd Selkirk

In January I placed an online order for a ladies semi-kilt, made to measure. After a confrmiation email my credit card payment of £154.95 was taken on the next bank day.

I have not heard from them. I never received proof that they had even tried to send the garment. I think they know that I cannot do much from here.

The Scottish consumer help I found online will not assist me because I don’t live in Scotland. The garment should have been a special treat for a special occasion for a lot more money than I usually spend on clothing

DDC, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

Stephen Smith, a from Brodies corporate team in Glasgow said:

AS with all consumer complaints, the first step is to contact the trader. Don’t delay – if goods don’t appear within the agreed delivery period then you should contact the seller immediately to inform them. Equally important is to keep a record of all correspondence so that you have specifics to which you can refer at a later date if necessary – copies of any letters and emails, and notes of conversations including times, dates and names, etc, are a must.

If you are unhappy with the response you receive from the trader and you bought the goods within the EU then you could contact your local European Consumer Centre – which provide consumers with advice and support in respect of their rights. Whilst they do not have any enforcement powers and cannot compel traders to take action, they are useful. Don’t assume that having an EU domain name (for example, .de and .it) means the trader is based in the UK, Germany and Italy respectively – it doesn’t!

Finally, if you paid for the goods with your credit card then you should also contact the credit card provider. In certain cases where goods have not arrived, you may be able to claim back the amount of money you paid. If you’re not satisfied with your provider’s response then you can follow its complaints procedure (which could eventually lead to the financial ombudsman) until the matter is resolved.

• If you have a consumer issue you would like tackling, contact Claire Smith on 0131 620 8511 or e-mail