Consultation 26.08

26.08 Proposed Consumer Rights Directive – A Consultation

This proposal brings together four existing Directives. These Directives establish a layer of protection for consumers purchasing at a distance or away from business premises, requiring information and rights of withdrawal for consumers. They ensure that unfair contract terms are not binding on consumers and they provide for remedies where goods are faulty.

As well as updating and clarifying the rights consumers enjoy, the draft Directive proposes to fully harmonise these rules across the EU.

Full harmonisation means that no Member State will be able to prescribe stronger rules of protection in the areas covered by the Directive. Business will be free to offer more to consumers in terms of commercial guarantees just as they do now, but for traders selling armchairs in Athens, lampshades in Lisbon, or sofas in Stockholm, a uniform set of consumer rights should increase their willingness to sell cross-border.

The proposed new Directive is a full harmonisation measure and covers the provision of pre-contractual information to consumers, information and withdrawal rights for distance and off-premises contracts, sales contracts and unfair terms in consumer contracts. It also provides definitions of key terms.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks. The closing date for observations is 2 February 2009.

The Consultation can be accessed via the following government website:

A list of questions can be found on pages 8 to 11.