EU-wide rules on selling to consumers are changing on 13 June 2014 – are you compliant?

What's the development?

New rules will apply to most businesses selling to consumers in the EU, including to those selling online from outside the EU, from no later than 13 June 2014.

What has changed?

Among other things, for online and other distance sales:

  • the minimum cooling off period will be 14 days (currently 7 in the UK);
  • there are changes to information which must be given to consumers prior to purchase, especially for online sales;
  • refunds must be given within 14 days (rather than 30); and
  • consumers must be provided with standard cancellation forms.

What does this mean for you?

If you sell to consumers in the EU, whether or not you have an EU presence, you will (unless you come within limited exceptions), need to review and probably change your:

  • sales path;
  • information you give to consumers prior to sale;
  • sale confirmation process;
  • cancellation, returns and refund policies; and
  • terms and conditions of sale.
  • If you sell to consumers online will also need to:
  • make sure you comply with special pre-contractual information provisions; and
  • ensure you clearly inform consumers at the point of entering into a payment obligation.

How are these rules being implemented across Europe?

All European countries are required to give effect to these new rules by 13 June 2014. Each country is doing so under its own legislation but there should be little variation between member state rules.