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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 BG CS DA DE ET EL EN ES FR IT LV LT HU MT NL PL PT RO SK SL FI SV pdf

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 pdf, the Annexes pdf or the Summary of the Impact Assessment DE FR pdf, which accompany the Proposal.

(09 October 2009) The Commission services have drawn up a comparative table pdf 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 pdf 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.

NEW! 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 FR pdf

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Stakeholders' conference

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.

Conference Agenda pdf (updated 19-10-2007)

Final list of participants of the Stakeholders' Conference

Final list of participants of the Stakeholders' Conference PDF of 14 November 2007 (updated 12-11-2007)

Commissioner Kuneva's speech pdf
Prof. Dr. Hans Schulte-Nölke pdf, University of Bielefeld
Mr Thomas Rudelt pdf, Metro Group
Mr Ulric Jerome pdf, Pixmania
Ms Paloma Castro Martinez pdf, eBay
Ms Edith Appelmans pdf, European Consumer Centre Belgium
Mr Jim Murray pdf, BEUC
Mr Carlos Almaraz pdf, Businesseurope
Mr Patrice Pellegrino pdf, Eurocommerce
Mr David M.Ortega Peciña pdf, Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios
Ms Susanne Czech pdf, 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 pdf 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 pdf 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 BG CS DA DE ET EL ES FR HU IT LV LT MT NL PL PT RO SK SL FI SV pdf. 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.

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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 DE FR pdf 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.

Disclaimer

"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."

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Directives under review

Sale of consumer goods and guarantees (99/44/EC) Timeshare (94/47/EC)
Price indication (98/6/EC) Unfair contract terms (93/13/EC)
Injunctions (98/27/EC) Package travel (90/314/EC)
Distance selling (97/7/EC) Doorstep selling (85/577/EC)

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