The Swedish government has through a recent Government Bill (2013/14:15; the “Bill”) proposed strengthened consumer protection in regard to distance contracts and contracts that are entered into outside business premises, intended to apply from 13 June 2014. The proposal is based on the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU).
The background of the proposal is that an increasing number of people are buying goods and services at distance, over the internet, and often from abroad. A harmonization of the rules within the EU should increase legal certainty of both consumers and traders.
The new rules include stricter requirements in regard to contracts that are entered into on a trader’s web page. In such a case, a consumer shall be bound by the agreement only if he has expressly agreed to pay for the goods or services. For instance, if an order is made by clicking on a button, it should be clear that the order imposes an obligation to pay. This information should be on the button or immediately adjacent to it. If a consumer does not click on a button, or take a similar action, then he will not be bound by the order.
New rules are introduced also regarding digital content that is not on a physical medium. The rules concern conditions of right of refund and how a waiver of the right of refund shall be made. For example, a written confirmation of purchase, which is sent to a customer before delivery of the order, shall include an explicit statement that such a right has been waived (if that is the case). According to the Bill, such waiver can be made by the consumer by, e.g., ticking a specific box for that purpose. Finally, new rules are introduced regarding the traders’ obligation to provide specific information to the consumers before any purchase of digital content.