The European Parliament has adopted a new Consumer Rights Directive.  The Directive aims to strengthen consumers' rights when shopping online.  A press release published by the European Parliament highlights the 10 most important changes for consumers in the Directive.

These include:

  1. The elimination of 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 (rather than the current seven days legally prescribed by EU law)
  5. Better refund rights (refunds to be given within 14 days, including the costs of delivery)
  6. Introduction of an EU-wide model withdrawal form
  7. Eliminating surcharges for the use of credit cards and telephone hotlines
  8. Clearer information on who pays for returning goods
  9. Better consumer protection in relation to digital products Common rules for businesses which will make it easier for them to trade all over Europe

The purpose of this new single set of rules for distance and off-premises contracts in the EU is to create a harmonised level playing-field for businesses, and reduce transaction costs for cross-border traders.  

The Directive is expected to be approved by the EU Council of Ministers in September, and published in the Official Journal this autumn.  Member States will then be required to implement the new rules before the end of 2013.