New EU legislation will bolster consumer rights throughout the European Union. The new EU Consumer Rights Directive, which has now entered into force, strengthens consumers’ rights wherever and whenever they shop in Europe – online or on the high street. Businesses will also benefit from these new rules which create a level-playing field, making it less costly for traders to offer their products and services to consumers across borders. The new rules will for example ensure that EU-wide, consumers have 14 days to change their minds and pull out of any online purchase or off-premises purchase (when a seller visits the consumer’s home) – up from the previous minimum 7 days.
Credit cards & Online
The new rules also ban surcharges for the use of credit cards and hotlines, as well as pre-ticked boxes on websites for charging additional payments (for example when buying plane tickets online). To make sure these new rules are applied in a uniform manner across the EU, so that consumers benefit from them no matter in which Member State they are, the European Commission is also publishing a guidance document for national authorities, including an optional model for essential consumer information to be displayed on digital products.
The new Consumer Rights Directive harmonises national consumer rules in several important areas, such as the information consumers need before they purchase goods and services, and their right to cancel online purchases. Increased harmonisation means that consumers can now rely on the same rights, no matter where they shop in the EU. It also means simpler, more predictable rules for traders, who will now have more incentives to expand their business across borders.