About the directive
The Consumer Rights Directive gives consumers the same strong rights across the EU. It aligns and harmonises national consumer rules, for example on the information consumers need to be given before they purchase something, and their right to cancel online purchases, wherever they shop in the EU.
The directive applies to all contracts concluded between a "consumer" and a "trader". 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.
The Directive has been amended by Directive (EU) 2019/2161 of 27 November 2019 on better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules, part of the ‘ Review of EU consumer law - New Deal for Consumers”.
Guidance on the application of the Directive
In June 2014, when the Consumer Rights Directive entered into application, Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers of the European Commission published a guidance document in all EU languages to facilitate the effective application of the Directive. The Guidance document includes a template to help traders provide consumer information about online digital products.
As announced in the New Consumer Agenda of November 2020, the Commission will update the guidance documents on the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Consumer Rights Directive by 2022. The update will address the amendments introduced by the Better enforcement and modernisation Directive and the new case law and market developments.
Evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive
A report on the application of the Directive was published on 29 May 2017 together with the report on the Fitness Check of consumer and marketing law. The evaluation aimed to assess whether the CRD has achieved its objectives and whether the anticipated impacts as described in the original impact assessment accompanying the proposal for the Directive have materialised.
Further to the fitness check of consumer and marketing law and the evaluation of the consumer rights directive, the Commission proposed, on 11 April 2018, to revise several existing EU consumer law directives, including the Consumer Rights Directive. The amending Directive was adopted on 27 November 2019 - Directive (EU) 2019/2161 on better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules
Regulatory choices under Article 29 of the Consumer Rights Directive
Under Article 29 of the Directive, Member States must inform the Commission about their use of the regulatory choices provided by certain Articles of the Directive. The Commission makes the Member States' notifications publicly available in the form they are provided.
Information requirements for contracts other than distance and off-premises contracts
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. EU countries may add on further information requirements for such contracts in their national law.
Distance and off-premises contracts
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.
Delivery and risk
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.
- rules regarding the fees for the use of certain means of payment (e.g. credit or debit cards)
- rules regarding the charges for calling telephone hotlines operated by traders
- 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.