The rights will cover clear information about the goods, rights in the event of late delivery or non-delivery, cooling-off periods, returns, refunds, repair terms and guarantees. They will apply to both high street purchases and those made online.
By introducing this directive, the Commission hopes to drive more cross-border and online purchases.
EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva said, "With household budgets under strain and purchasing power at the top of citizens' concerns, it has never been more important for consumers to be able to compare prices and shop around to get the best value on offer. These new rules are designed to strengthen protection and close the loopholes in key areas that are undermining consumer trust. The Single Market has the potential to deliver a lot more choice and opportunities for consumers. But for that we need an EU-wide safety net of rights so consumers have the security they need to shop around with peace of mind."
The Contract Rights Directive must be approved by the European Parliament and EU Governments in the Council of Ministers before coming into law. But they are likely to be controversial. Some countries, including some of the Nordic states and the UK, are concerned that some of their existing consumer protection measures go beyond the terms in the new directive, and that such measures could actually be lowered as a result.
Beuc, the European consumer groups' umbrella organisation, shares that concern. It also believes that the directive has missed opportunities to address some areas - for example, the right to have faulty goods bought cross-border repaired domestically.
Read the European Commission Press Release:
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