As we reported recently, a new European Directive on Consumer Rights has been drafted and approved.

On 22 November 2011, the Directive on Consumer Rights (Directive 2011/83/EU) was published in the Official Journal and will come into force on 13 December 2011. Member States must implement the Directive into national law by 13 December 2013.

The European Commission has produced a helpful guide to the major changes in the Directive which is summarised below.

10 most important changes for consumers in the new Directive*:

  1. The Directive will eliminate hidden charges and costs on the Internet
  2. Increased price transparency
  3. Banning pre-ticked boxes on websites
  4. 14 Days to change your mind on a purchase
  5. Better refund rights
  6. Introduction of an EU-wide model withdrawal form
  7. Eliminating surcharges for the use of credit cards and hotlines
  8. Clearer information on who pays for returning goods
  9. Better consumer protection in relation to digital products
  10. Common rules for businesses will make it easier for them to trade all over Europe.

How will the new Directive fit in with current consumer law Directives?

The Directive on Consumer Rights (Directive 2011/83/EU) will replace the current Directive 97/7/EC on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts and the current Directive 85/577/EEC on the protection of consumers 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 will be amended but will remain in force.

*source: Press Release of the European Commission in connection with publication of new Consumer Rights Directive, 10 October 2011