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Consumers (09-10-2007)

Publication of a consultation document on the review of the Doorstep Selling Directive

Today the European Commission published a consultation document on the "Doorstep Selling Directive". This Directive (85/577/EEC) protects consumers in respect of contracts with traders concluded away from business premises.
It mainly provides for a minimum cooling-off period of seven days enabling the consumer to cancel the contract.
During extensive consultations with stakeholders, the Commission received feedback stressing the need for a revision of the existing Directive.
Some of the problems stem from the differences in consumer protection in respect of contracts negotiated away from business premises between the Member States. There is also a possible need for simplifying and updating the current rules to address concrete problems of application of the Directive which have emerged since its entry into force 20 years ago.
The Doorstep Selling Directive is one of eight Directives included in the Review of the Consumer Acquis. The extensive public consultation, through the Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis, was recently closed and results are now published on the website of the Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO).
Questions raised in the Doorstep Selling consultation document focus on issues which are specific to the sector, such as the application of exemptions and the possible need for a revision of these exemptions. Horizontal issues which cut across the acquis, such as definitions, are not dealt with in this document unless they concern aspects particular to doorstep selling.
Furthermore, aggressive or misleading commercial practices used by rogue traders when offering goods or services away from business premises are also beyond the scope of this consultation document. The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which must be applicable in the Member States by 12 December 2007, aims at curtailing these types of practices.
The consultation on the Doorstep Selling Directive will be open until 12 November 2007.
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