The directive on consumer rights aims to achieve a real business-to-consumer (B2C) internal market, with a high level of consumer protection and competitive businesses.

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.

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Evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive

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 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.

"New Deal for Consumers"

About the directive

The same rights across the EU

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.

Harmonisa­tion of the rules means that consumers can rely on same rights, wherever they shop in the EU.

High level of protection

The CRD provides for a higher level of protection for consumers. It strengthens consumer rights whether they are shopping on the high street or online, in their own country or elsewhere in the EU.

For example, consumers must have clear information on prices, wherever and whichever way they shop. Traders will have to give the total cost of the product or service, including any extra fees.

Scope

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. 

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 provides a summary table and makes the Member States' notifications publicly available in the form they are provided.

Directive details

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.

These include:

  • 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

General provisions and important changes

Chapter V contains general provisions, e.g. on enforcement and penalties.