Consumer protection: Commission revises EU rules on product safety and consumer credit

(Credit: Unsplash)

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


Today, the European Commission has proposed revisions of two sets of EU rules to enhance consumer rights in a world reshaped by digitalisation and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission is reinforcing its safety net for EU consumers, for example, by making sure that dangerous products are recalled from the market or that credit offers are presented to consumers in a clear way, easily readable on digital devices. The proposal updates both the existing General Product Safety Directive as well as the EU rules on consumer credit to safeguard consumers.

Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said: “Consumers face many challenges, especially in the digital world which revolutionised shopping, services or financial markets. This is why we are stepping up consumer protection on two fronts: we are making it easier for consumers to avoid risks related to having a credit and we are putting even stronger rules for product safety in place. It will also put more responsibility on market players and make it more difficult for bad actors to hide behind complicated legal jargon.”   

Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said: “The COVID-19 crisis has impacted consumers in multiple ways and many have faced financial difficulties. The digitalisation that has been accelerated by the pandemic, leads to a surge of online shopping and is profoundly changing the financial sector. It is our duty to safeguard consumers, in particular, the most vulnerable ones. With our revision of the existing EU rules on consumer credit and general product safety, that’s exactly what we do!”

Online sales have increased steadily in the last 20 years and in 2020, 71% of consumers shopped online, often buying new technology products. From wireless earplugs and air purifiers to gaming consoles – the market for technological gadgets is vast. The General Product Safety Regulation will address risks related to these new technology products, such as cybersecurity risks, and to online shopping by, introducing product safety rules for online marketplaces. It will ensure that all products reaching EU consumers, through online marketplaces or from the neighbourhood shop, are safe, whether coming from within the EU or from outside. The new Regulation will make certain that marketplaces fulfil their duties so that consumers do not end up with dangerous products in their hands.

The revision of the Consumer Credit Directive provides that information related to credits must be presented in a clear way, adapted to the digital devices so that consumers understand what they are signing up for. Furthermore, the Directive will improve rules with which creditworthiness, i.e. whether or not a consumer will be able to repay the credit, is assessed. This is to avoid the issue of over-indebtedness. The regulation will ask Member States to promote financial education and to ensure debt advice is made available to consumers.

Next steps

The Commission’s proposals will now be discussed by Council and Parliament.

Background

General Product Safety Regulation

The General Product Safety Directive, in force since 2001, ensures that only safe products are sold on the EU single market. However, too many unsafe products still circulate on the EU market, creating an uneven playing field for businesses and an important cost for society and consumers. In addition, the rules need to be updated to address challenges linked to new technologies and online sales.

Consumer Credit Directive Proposal

Directive 2008/48/EC on credit agreements for consumers established a harmonised EU framework for consumer credit and provided a solid framework for fair access to credit for European consumers. However, since its entering into force in 2008 the digitalisation has profoundly changed the decision-making process and the habits of consumers in general. The revision today aims to address these developments.

Both proposals are part of the New Consumer Agenda, launched last year, aiming to update the overall strategic framework of the EU consumer policy.

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

How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries

4 steps to developing responsible AI

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

5 crises that could worsen under COVID-19

CEOs as activists: should leaders speak up about social causes?

Refugee crisis update: Commission is struggling alone with little help from EU or G7 leaders

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Albinism, displacement in Central America, family-friendly nations, updates on the Gulf and Darfur

This city is planting a tree for every man, woman and child

Belgium: keep up reforms to increase employment and productivity growth

COVID-19 : Have we learnt any lessons at all from last year?

Our poisonous air is harming our children’s brains

UN human rights chief fears world has grown numb to Syrian carnage

The European Green Deal must be at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery

EU and 15 World Trade Organization members establish contingency appeal arrangement for trade disputes

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

China revisited by the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

Coronavirus: Team Europe continues to deliver with more than €26 billion disbursed in support to partner countries in one year

Thousands returning to Nigeria’s restive Borno state ‘at risk’; UN ‘gravely concerned’

Russia and the West use the same tactics to dismember Ukraine

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

Iraq: Solutions needed ‘urgently’ to quell ongoing violence, break political deadlock

Brexit: No deal without marginalizing the hard Tory Eurosceptic MPs

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

‘Bleakest period yet’ in Occupied Palestinian Territory: UN human rights expert

EU: All economic indicators in free fall

How do we upskill a billion people by 2030? Leadership and collaboration will be key

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

A fairer world requires fairer tech. Here’s why

The world’s coastal cities are going under. Here’s how some are fighting back

The power of digital tools to transform mental healthcare

How has technology changed – and changed us – in the past 20 years?

The European Commission cuts roaming charges. But “it’s not enough”…

What have the banks done to the markets making them unable to bear cheap oil?

These 3 tech visionaries are reinventing the wheelchair

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

Environmental liability rules need revamping

Fall asleep in Vienna, wake up in Paris – Europe’s night trains make a comeback

Human rights champions from across the world receive top UN prize

Young people worldwide can ‘determine the future of migration,’ says UN senior official

From violence to dialogue: as land conflicts intensify, UN boosts efforts to resolve disputes through mediation

How data is transforming the way we care for the ocean

European Fund for Transition to support more workers made redundant

The European Council takes more measures to stem illegal migration

Commission initiates an investigation to decide whether to prolong the steel safeguard measure

What’s the difference between carbon negative and carbon neutral?

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

Illness in health workers: when the caregiver becomes the patient

Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

An entrepreneurial point-of view on tackling the migration crisis and the risks of abolishing Schengen

Victims’ Rights: New Strategy to empower victims

Why the global trade of chemicals is key to COVID-19 recovery

An electric motorbike could help tackle big game poaching. Here’s how

Changing world of work needs new jobs strategy

Same-sex marriages and partnerships should be recognised across the EU

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

To take or not to take – The Indian vaccination dilemma

Coronavirus global response: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to Iraq and new funding

ECB readies itself for extraordinary monetary measures defying Germany

Cross-roads

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

%d bloggers like this: