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

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 organised a public consultation on possible targeted legislative changes in some key EU consumer law directives.

Public consultation on the targeted revision of EU consumer law directives

About the directive

The same rights across the EU

The EU 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 new rules provide for a higher level of protection for consumers. They strengthen consumer rights whether they are shopping on the high street or online, in their own country or elsewhere in the EU.

For example, consumers will now have clearer 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 ". It also provides for definitions of terms and specifies that EU countries 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. This is laid out in Chapter I.

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(199 kB) and makes the Member States' notifications publicly available in the form they are provided.

Notifications according to Article 32 and 33 of the CRD

An overview of notifications received by the Commission regarding provisions going beyond Directive 93/13/EEC (the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive) and provisions going beyond Article 5(1) to (3) and Article 7(1) of Directive 1999/44/EC (the Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive) is made available for your information.

Directive details

Consumer 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 in their national law. The information to be applied by traders is contained in Chapter II of the directive.

Distance and off-premised 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

  • ruled 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. For the ten most important changes in the EU legislation for consumers under the directive on consumer rights, please see the press releaseof the European Commission.

Documents

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