The Directive on Consumer Rights RSS
The Directive on Consumer Rights aims at achieving a real business-to-consumer (B2C) internal market, striking the right balance between a high level of consumer protection and the competitiveness of enterprises.
The Directive on Consumer Rights
The Directive on Consumer Rights (2011/83/EC) replaces, as of 13 June 2014, Directive 97/7/EC on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts and Directive 85/577/EEC to protect consumer in respect of contracts negotiated away from business premises. Directive 1999/44/EC on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees as well as Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts remains in force.
Transposition of the Directive into national laws is due by 13 December 2013. Member States must then apply the national laws implementing the Directive from 13 June 2014.
The Commission has assisted Member States in the transposition of the Consumer Rights Directive. In particular, three meetings have been held with Member States' representatives on 5 October 2012, 8 March 2013 and 19 September 2013.
Current information about the state of transposition and references to national transposition measures are available from Eur-Lex.
Under Article 29 of the Directive, Member States must also inform the Commission about their use of the regulatory choices provided by certain Articles of the Directive. The Commission makes these publicly available in the form they are provided .
Guidance on the application of the Directive
The Commission will issue Guidance on the application of the Directive before its entry into application. The Guidance will address in particular the provision of consumer information about online digital products. A Workshop to discuss the future Guidance with Member States' authorities and consumer and industry representatives takes place on 11 December 2013.
Contents of the Directive
Chapter I defines the scope of the Directive, which is all contracts concluded between a "consumer" and a "trader ". It also provides for definitions of terms and specifies that the Member States may not diverge from the Directive by imposing more or less stringent provisions unless a specific possibility to deviate from its rules is provided in the Directive itself.
Chapter II contains core information to be provided by traders prior to the conclusion of consumer contracts, which are not distance or off-premises contracts. Member States may add on further information requirements in their national law.
Chapter III lays down the information requirements for distance and off-premises contracts, including information about the functionality and interoperability of digital content. It regulates the right of withdrawal (length of the withdrawal period, procedure and effects of the withdrawal), including a standard withdrawal form (Annex I(B)) that must be provided by traders and may be used by consumers to notify the withdrawal from the contract.
Chapter IV provides for rules on delivery and passing of risk applicable to contracts for the sale of goods as well as certain rules applicable to all types of consumer contracts. These include rules on the fees for the use of certain means of payment (e.g. credit or debit cards) and regarding the charges for calling telephone hotlines operated by traders as well as a prohibition to use pre-ticked boxes on websites for charging extra payments in addition to the remuneration for the trader's main contractual obligation.
Chapter V contains general provisions, e.g. on enforcement and penalties.
For the ten most important changes in the EU legislation for consumers under the Directive on Consumer Rights, please see the press release of the Commission.