Digital Agenda for Europe
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Fiche :: Action 13: Complementing the Consumer Rights Directive

Action 13: Complementing the Consumer Rights Directive

21 October 2010

Propose by 2012 an optional contract law instrument complementing the Consumer Rights Directive to overcome the fragmentation of contract law, in particular as regards the online environment.

What is the problem? Varying national contractual rules hamper the single market

Every EU Member State has its own contractual rules and often, the clauses in force differ from one country to another. This is a serious challenge to the smooth functioning of the internal market. For instance, businesses trading across borders may face high legal costs when their contracts are subject to foreign consumer law. Those costs are passed on to consumers who will eventually have to pay higher prices fore products or services.

Why is EU action needed? Legal uncertainty strangling cross-border e-commerce

Divergent rules mean that some companies could decide not to enter foreign markets because of the high compliance costs. Businesses then lose out in market reach and consumers end up with less choice. The full potential of cross-border e-commerce therefore remains unfulfilled.

What has the Commission achieved?

The Commission has adopted in October 2011 a legislative proposal to complement the EU Consumer Rights Directive.. The optional Common European Sales Law will help break down the trade barriers and give consumers more choice and a high level of protection. It will offer a single set of rules for cross-border contracts in all 27 EU countries.

Additional Information

Contact:

ken.ducatel@ec.europa.eu