Proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights
The proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights
On 8 October 2008, the European Commission adopted the
proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights
The Proposal ensures a high level of consumer protection and aims at establishing the real retail internal market, making it easier and less costly for traders
to sell cross border and providing consumers with a larger choice and competitive prices.
The Consumer Rights Directive merges 4 existing EU consumer directives
into one set of rules. At the same time it updates and modernises existing consumer rights, bringing them in line with technological change (m-commerce, online auctions)
and strengthening provisions in the key areas where consumers have experienced problems in recent years – particularly in sales negotiated away from business premises (e.g. door to door selling).
More information about the Proposal:
The Proposal has resulted from a bottom-up approach to policy making. The Proposal is part of the Review of the Consumer Acquis. It has been
subject to an impact assessment and extensive public consultations. In the course of the impact assessment process, the Commission
consulted business and consumer stakeholders.
The main findings of the Impact Assessment confirm the need for a legislative action at EU level:
- The existing consumer protection directives are based on minimum harmonisation. This means that Member States can go beyond
the degree of protection granted to consumers in EC law by introducing or maintaining stricter national consumer rules. As a consequence,
differences exist in the level of protection afforded to EU consumers and the modalities for exercising the rights granted by the directives.
- Regulatory fragmentation is one of the main obstacles to cross-border trade identified by the traders. The additional cost of
complying with different national laws regulating consumer transactions – which is in the scope of the current review of the EU Consumer Acquis –
is considered as an important barrier for traders.
- The need for the Proposal also stems from the inconsistencies generated by the sector specific approach to the consumer regulatory
framework. The Commission believes that the fragmentation is creating internal market problems.
To learn more about the rationale for the Commission's initiative, you may consult the Impact Assessment Report
, the Annexes
or the Summary of the Impact Assessment
which accompany the Proposal.
(09 October 2009)
The Commission services have drawn up a comparative table illustrating the
impact of the most relevant issues of the proposal on the existing national levels of consumer protection.
This table is accompanied by a note addressing some legal issues raised in the legislative process (scope, relationship with national general contract law and relationship with other Community legislation).
NB: The work on these two documents is still in progress; it will be completed and updated with the ongoing screening by the Member States of their national law. The draft does not represent the official views of the Commission.
The Commission has conducted the Eurobarometer qualitative study on sales remedies. The study provides analysis of consumers' behaviour and preferences in relation to different sales remedies i.e. repair, replacement, reduction of price and contract rescission. Report of the study
The Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General held a full-day stakeholder conference on the review of the consumer acquis on November 14, 2007.
The conference formed part of the stakeholder dialogue on the consumer acquis initiated by the Green Paper. Its aim was to collect stakeholders' practical experiences
and views on the state of play in respect of EU consumer protection legislation, with a view to identifying regulatory problems, improving the functioning of the
EU retail market and discussing different issues that had been addressed in the replies to the Green Paper consultation. There were almost 200 participants. Each
of the three sessions was introduced by a number of speakers followed by interventions from the conference participants. During the first session representatives
from well known companies, trading cross border, and from the ECC Network, handling consumer requests and complaints in a cross-border context, explained what kind
of challenges and problems that businesses and consumers face due to differing consumer legislation in different Member States. The second session took its starting
point in the issues raised in the Green Paper consultation, for instance whether and to what extent there is a need for fully harmonised consumer contract provisions
at EU level. Finally, the issues of delivery and the passing of risk were discussed, given that these are relevant issues for instance in surveys on consumer problems
arising from cross border shopping. Closing remarks were made by Commissioner Kuneva, outlining in her speech what may be included in a new framework Directive on
Consumer Contractual Rights and explaining the timetable for the work of the coming year.
Final list of participants of the Stakeholders' Conference
Final list of participants of the Stakeholders' Conference
of 14 November 2007 (updated 12-11-2007)
Commissioner Kuneva's speech
Prof. Dr. Hans Schulte-Nölke , University of Bielefeld
Mr Thomas Rudelt , Metro Group
Mr Ulric Jerome , Pixmania
Ms Paloma Castro Martinez , eBay
Ms Edith Appelmans , European Consumer Centre Belgium
Mr Jim Murray , BEUC
Mr Carlos Almaraz , Businesseurope
Mr Patrice Pellegrino , Eurocommerce
Mr David M.Ortega Peciña , Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios
Ms Susanne Czech , EMOTA
The outcome of the public consultation
Following the Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis (COM(2006) 744 Final, the Commission has received more than 300 responses
from consumer and business associations, Member States, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and groups of
stakeholders. After analysing all the responses, the Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General has issued a staff
working document which summaries the outcome of the consultation.
The staff working document will be complemented by a detailed analysis of the responses to the
Green Paper prepared by GHK Consulting for the Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General.
All responses submitted following the Green Paper are available here
Disclaimer: These responses and the analytical summary prepared by the external contractor have not been adopted or in any way approved by
the Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement of the Commission's or Health & Consumer Protection DG's views. The European Commission does not guarantee
the accuracy of the data included in these responses and the analytical summary, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.
Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis
On 8 February 2007, the European Commission adopted the Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis
This Green Paper concludes the diagnostic phase of the review, sums up the Commission’s initial findings and initiates a public consultation. It identifies a number of problems
with the current legislation in the area of consumer protection and presents main options for a reform as well as a number of specific questions.
With this Green Paper, the Commission called on all interested parties to express their views on the issues identified in the context of the Review of Consumer
Acquis. The consultation period lasted till 15 May 2007.
Currently, the Commission is analysing the contributions and will publish a summary in the 4th quarter of 2007. On the basis of the outcome of
the consultation, the Commission will decide whether there is a need for a legislative initiative.
EU Consumer Law Compendium
In order to develop a knowledge base for the review, the European Commission, among other initiatives and activities, contracted for a
comparative analysis on how the eight directives subject to the Review are applied in the Member States, including case-law and administrative practice.
As a result of an open tender this task was assigned to the University of Bielefeld under the lead of Prof. Dr. Hans Schulte-Nölke. In accordance with
the service contract the researchers developed:
- A Comparative Analysis
of the different national regulations, including possible
barriers to trade or distortions of competition resulting from them. The extended version of the Analysis covers all 27 legal systems including Bulgaria and Romania.
- An EU Consumer Law Acquis Database, which links the
directives under the Review, relevant ECJ jurisprudence,
national transposition measures as well as national case-law. Attention: The link will redirect you to an external
website of the contractor.
"The EC Consumer Law Compendium was produced by the University of Bielefeld (Germany) for
DG Health & Consumer Protection and represents the views of the contractor or authors. These views have not been adopted or
in any way endorsed by the Commission and should not be relied upon as a statement of the views of the Commission. In particular,
the views expressed by the authors on the adequacy of national transpositions measures are without prejudice to the opinions of the
Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this Compendium, nor does it accept responsibility
for any use made thereof."
Directives under review