Consumers’ rights against defective digital content agreed by EU lawmakers

ipad

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


People who buy or download music, apps, games or use cloud services will be better protected if a trader fails to supply the content or service or provides a defective one.

The first EU-wide “digital contracts” rules to protect consumers better were provisionally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on Tuesday evening.

These consumer protection rights will apply in an equal manner to consumers who provide data in exchange for such content or service and to “paying” consumers alike.

What to do if something goes wrong

The agreed text lays down that:

  • in case of defective digital content or service: if it is not possible to fix it in a reasonable time, the consumer is entitled to a price reduction or a full reimbursement within 14 days,
  • if a defect becomes apparent within one year of the date of supply, it is presumed that it existed already at that time, without the need for the consumer to prove it (reversal of the burden of proof); for continuous supplies, the burden of proof remains with the trader throughout the contract,
  • the guarantee period for one-off supplies cannot be shorter than two years; for continuous supplies it should apply throughout the duration of the contract,
  • for subscriptions to digital content for a period of time, the trader may modify the content only if it’s allowed by the contract, the consumer is notified reasonably in advance and is allowed to terminate the contract within at least 30 days of notice.

Quotes

Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D, DE), Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee rapporteur, said: “With the sinking cost of electronic gadgets and the growing market for Big Data and targeted marketing, companies have an increased incentive to distribute consumer electronics without charge. Some consumer electronics are sold at the manufacturing price or less. The main purpose of such “giveaways” is to monetise through collection of user-generated content. This provisional deal bolsters consumer rights and increases legal certainty. It addresses the most pressing issues that consumer contracts in the digital sphere face today, such as software updates, changes to digital content/service, and terminating long-term contracts”.

Axel Voss (EPP, DE), Legal Affairs Committee rapporteur, added: “The directive for digital contract law provides an essential legal framework for digital content within the EU. Most notably in the digital world, which is characterised by a boundless data transfer between countries, it is indispensable for a functioning European Single Market to adopt uniform rules”.

Next steps

MEPs have provisionally closed the negotiations on the digital content directive today. The agreement should be officially confirmed when a deal is reached on its “twin” proposal, the sales of goods directive, since the co-legislators decided to treat them as a package.

The provisional agreement will need to be confirmed by member states’ ambassadors (Coreper) and the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and Legal Affairs committees. It will then be put to a vote by the full House and submitted for approval to the EU Council of Ministers.

Background

Contracts for the supply of digital content and services are concluded every day by millions of people. Digital content covers a wide range of items, such as music, movies, apps, games and computer programmes. Digital services include, for instance, cloud computing services and social media platforms. EU data protection rules will be fully applicable in the context of these “digital contracts”.

Goods with digital elements (e.g. “smart” fridges or connected watches) are to be regulated under the directive on sales of goods, on which negotiations are ongoing.

This proposal, together with the one on the sales of tangible goods, is among the initiatives of the Digital Single Market Strategy.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN chief sends condolences to families of Malawi flood victims

Food safety: Enhancing consumer trust in EU risk assessment and authorisation

This company helps women to become solar entrepreneurs

Continuing incarceration of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, ‘reprehensible’: UN experts

7 simple steps we can all take to reduce food waste

Globalization is changing. Here’s how your business can adapt

The rise and rise of media on your mobile phone – in one chart

The impact of COVID-19 on the life of the elderly

UN spotlights digitization of audiovisual archives to preserve human history on World Day

Central Africans ‘need our help now’: UN’s deputy relief chief

UN human rights report cites ‘multiple root causes’ of deadly Chile protests

3 important lessons from 20 years of working with social entrepreneurs

Employment: Commission proposes €1.6 million from Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help 400 workers made redundant in Carrefour Belgique

Support ‘winds of change’ in DR Congo to consolidate positive developments, urges UN mission chief

What we take for granted: The EU is not perfect

Healthcare workers’ safety: a forgotten necessity

As COP25 goes into the night, Guterres calls for more climate ambition

European Commission registers Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

G20: Less growth, more austerity for developing countries

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “Chinese economy has great potential, resilience and ample space for policy adjustment”, China’s Vice President Li Yuanchao reassures from Davos

Millions denied citizenship due to ideas of national, ethnic or racial ‘purity’: UN rights expert

Paris, Washington, IMF against Berlin and ECB on money and interest

Myanmar: New UN envoy offers to serve ‘as a bridge’, recognizes ‘positive steps’ over Rakhine state

Guinea-Bissau spotlights threats of organized crime, Sahel terrorism in speech to UN Assembly

COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 4 January

Palm Oil: With Malaysia cracking down on production, what’s the alternative?

A Monday to watch the final act of a Greek tragedy; will there be catharsis or more fear?

Data exchanges: Strengthening Europol cooperation with non-EU countries

Migration and rule of law on next ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly agenda

Violence on the rise in Darfur following Sudan military takeover, but UN-AU peacekeeping mission maintains ‘robust posture’

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

President David Sassoli to visit Skopje: “Remain on the European track”

Former Chilean President Bachelet put forward by UN chief as next High Commissioner for Human Rights

How to keep essential value chains moving during the COVID-19 crisis

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Metallo by Aurubis

A small group of world leaders are standing together against inequality

EU budget 2019 approved: focus on the young, innovation and migration

Forget 2009, this is the real credit crisis of our time

Energy Union: deals on efficiency targets and governance

UPDATED: Thousands flee fighting around Libyan capital as Guterres condemns escalation, urges ‘immediate halt’ to all military operations

New seat projections for the next European Parliament

The new era of Matriarchy?

4 ways to keep the momentum rolling on mental health

Services are the hidden side of the US-China trade war

Spring 2019 Economic Forecast: Growth continues at a more moderate pace

Visa-free access to the EU for UK nationals and to the UK for EU nationals

Top officials say UN will support Bahamas’ rescue, relief efforts as Hurricane Dorian churns in Atlantic

Budget Committee backs €2.3 million worth of aid to help 550 redundant media workers in Greece

Human rights on film: International festival celebrates mobile phone films for a cause

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

World Population Day: ‘A matter of human rights’ says UN

Ahead of UN summit, leading scientists warn climate change ‘hitting harder and sooner’ than forecast

The invisible L word: the struggles to achieve SRHR, as HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for lesbian population

To solve the climate crisis, we need an investment revolution

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

How COVID-19 accelerated the shift towards TradeTech

Why the UK government must do more to boost green revolution

On Brexit: the outcome of UK elections next May to be based on false promises?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s