The EU Commission published a New Consumer Agenda on 13 November, 2020. Its aims are the followings:
- tackle the new challenges to consumer rights and opportunities for consumer empowerment brought about by the green and digital transitions, the COVID pandemic and the plans for post-COVID recovery;
- protect vulnerable consumers more effectively in the new economic realities of the COVID-19 crisis and its likely aftermath; and
- address the growing importance of international cooperation and effective enforcement in ensuring consumer rights in the globalization era.
The key element of the New Consumer Agenda is a new Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) (Directive (EU) 2019/2161), that is replacing 4 earlier directives.
A detailed CRD Guide gives explanation on:
- interplay with other EU legislation;
- contracts where the consumer provides personal data;
- obligations of online marketplaces;
- transparency of search results;
- personalized price;
- consumer’s right of withdrawal from contracts concluded during unsolicited visits or excursions;
- consequences of trader’s failure to inform about the right of withdrawal;
- enforcement and penalties.
As far as product are concerned, we cannot forget about the new Sales of Goods Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/771), that entered into force on 1 January, 2022. This new directive regulates the key rules on the legal and commercial guarantees, including now the rules on digital contents (software update obligation!).
It must be highlighted, that even if this directive suggests a two-year legal guarantee tools to adopt be EU Member States, this legal instrument variest to a large scale all over the EU.
It is also important to note, that this directive will be amended in the near future in accordance with the Right to Repair initiative.
Detailed legal interpretation of the Sales of Goods directive is available here.
The E-commerce Directive is the foundational legal framework for online services in the EU. It aims to remove obstacles to cross-border online services.
The EU is focused on defining an appropriate e-commerce framework and preventing unfair discrimination against consumers and businesses who access content or buy goods and services online within the EU.
Examples of services covered by the E-commerce Directive include:
- online information services;
- online selling of products and services;
- online advertising;
- professional services; and
- entertainment services and basic intermediary services, including services provided free of charge to the recipient, such as those funded by advertising.
Upcoming legislations that will very likely touch future product related obligations of manufacturers:
- Data Act
- Digital Services Act package
Directive (EU) 2019/2161 on consumer protection
Directive (EU) 2019/771 on the sales of goods
Directive 2000/31/EC on e-commerce