Consumer protection: Deal on EU-wide rules for those sold faulty products


(Unsplash, 2019)

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

Consumers buying online or in a brick and mortar store will be entitled to equal remedies if they purchase faulty products, under new rules agreed on Tuesday.

The directive on the sale of goods aims to ensure a high level of consumer protection throughout the EU and to create legal certainty for businesses wishing to sell their products in other member states. It harmonises certain contractual rights, such as the remedies available to consumers if a product does not perform well or is defective and the ways to use those remedies.
The rules provisionally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators will apply to both online and offline (face-to-face) sales of goods, e.g., whether a consumer buys a household appliance, a toy or a computer via the Internet or over the counter in a local store.
Goods with digital elements (e.g. “smart” fridges, smartphones and TVs or connected watches) are also covered by this directive. Consumers buying these products will be entitled to the necessary updates during a period of time the consumer may reasonably expect, based on the type and purpose of the goods and digital elements.
Ensuring key contractual rights when something goes wrong
This legislation includes rules on remedies available to consumers, guarantee periods, the burden of proof and the trader’s obligations:

  • when a product is defective, the consumer will be able to choose between having it repaired or replaced, free of charge,
  • the consumer will be entitled to an immediate price reduction or contract termination and to get his/her money back in certain cases, e.g. if a problem still appears despite the trader’s attempt to fix it, or if the repair is not done within a “reasonable period of time”, or if the defect is of a serious nature,
  • the trader would be liable if the defect appears within two years from the time the consumer received the product (member states may, however, introduce or maintain a longer legal guarantee period in their national laws, in order to keep the same level of consumer protection already granted in some countries),
  • for up to one or two years following the delivery, the buyer will not need to prove that the good was faulty (the burden of proof is reversed in favour of the consumer).

For instance, currently, if a consumer discovers that a product he/she purchased more than six months ago is defective and asks the trader to repair or replace it, he/she may be asked to prove that this defect existed at the time of delivery. Under these rules, during a one or two-year period, the consumer would be able to ask for a remedy, without having to prove that the defect existed at the time of delivery.
Pascal Arimont (EPP, BE), who is steering this legislation through Parliament, said: “ Consumers should be entitled to the same rights when buying a product, wherever they are in Europe. And with this new legislation, we are not only strengthening consumer protection, we are also introducing a uniform legal framework for smart goods”.
“However, harmonising key consumer rights does not only imply more consumer protection. It also ensures a level-playing field for businesses, by giving them more legal certainty and confidence to buy and sell cross-border. By tearing down legal barriers, we support our very small companies in particular, allowing them to get their fair share of e-commerce next to giants such as Amazon”, he added.
Next steps
The provisional agreement still needs to be confirmed by member states’ ambassadors (Coreper) and by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. The directive will then be put to a vote by the full House and submitted for approval to the EU Council of Ministers.
The sales of goods directive goes together with the digital content directive, provisionally agreed on 22 January 2019. They are due to be put to the vote in plenary as a package.


the sting Milestone

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

Silk Road Unlimited

A critical European young voice on Net Neutrality: the distance between Brussels and Washington

Malaria: Focus on pregnant women and children, stresses UN health agency report

France is building a village for people with Alzheimer’s

How to tackle the perils of air pollution

There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one’s native land

Yemen consultations have started, insists top UN negotiator

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

Civil protection: Parliament strengthens EU disaster response capability

UN Envoy ‘confident’ deal can be reached to avert further violence around key Yemeni port city

These are the countries where most adults still don’t have a smartphone

Have Europe’s Ukrainian wounds begun to heal?

UNICEF delivers medical supplies to Gaza in wake of deadly protests

Commission concludes that an Excessive Deficit Procedure is no longer warranted for Italy at this stage

Innovation for a smarter world: ITU Telecom World 2018

We need better alignment between climate and trade. Here’s a roadmap

State aid: Commission approves €400 million of public support for very high-speed networks in Spain

The Indian case: health policies need to keep pace with public health literacy

Sochi not far away from Ukraine

First-ever EU defence industry fund to finance joint development of capabilities

We don’t know how autonomous vehicles will depreciate – and that’s a problem

Banks promise easing of credit conditions in support of the real economy

Making money from meeting the SDGs? An overarching approach to sustainable development.

Guterres calls for ‘maximum restraint’ following drone assault on key Saudi oil facility

Violence against women a barrier to peaceful future for all

Further reforms can foster more inclusive labour markets in The Netherlands

Portugal: Budget MEPs back €4.66 m in job-search aid for 730 redundant workers

European Development Days 2013

Young people demand a transparent job market: new campaign launches on international interns day

How digital can transform healthcare in Asia for millions of people

How supporting climate action on a local level can transform the world

Consumer protection: Deal on EU-wide rules for those sold faulty products

It’s a lie Eurozone isn’t competitive

EU’s unsparing question to UK: now what kind of future relations do you want?

Your chocolate can help save the planet. Here’s how

Refugee resettlement: ‘Tremendous gap’ persists between needs, and spaces on offer

The Sting’s Values

Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries

Security Union: political agreement on strengthened Schengen Information System

General Assembly officially adopts roadmap for migrants to improve safety, ease suffering

Thought AIs could never replace human imagination? Think again

INTERVIEW: Poverty, education and inclusion top new General Assembly President’s priority list

What is ‘South-South cooperation’ and why does it matter?

A Sting Exclusive: Disaster risk resilience, key to protecting vulnerable communities

JADE @ European Business Summit 2014: Youth Unemployment – a drive to Entrepreneurship

6 ways to future-proof universities

Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: #GlobalGoals progress, essential meds, updates from Cox’s Bazar, Sudan and DR Congo

The European Union’s Balkan Double Standard

Strengthen inclusion, participation of people with autism to ‘achieve their full potential’ says UN chief

How to provide health education and thus create better health systems

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

This is how music festivals are tackling plastic waste

The EU Commission is lying to the “Right2Water” campaign

A Valentine’s Special: giving back, a dialogue of love

ILO welcomes new UNDP report that places decent work at the heart of sustainable development

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

How is the global economy fairing 11 years after the financial crisis?

Launch of Pact for Youth: European Youth Forum calls for real business engagement

3 natural mysteries that could be explained by quantum physics

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

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

You are commenting using your 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