New rules for the sales of goods and digital content in the EU
Members of the European Parliament today approved new rules that will make it easy and safe to buy and sell both goods and digital content EU-wide. The new rules will give consumers better protection and will establish an EU-wide rule for digital content that, so far, did not exist.
Axel Voss MEP, responsible for the new legislation concerning digital content in the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, said: “With a single set of rules on how to sell across the EU, we are lowering administrative and financial burdens for businesses and encouraging customers to buy online from European companies. As of now, retailers will not have to adapt to 28 wide-ranging contract law regimes to expand their business abroad and customers will have the certainty that shopping in any EU e-shop is legally as safe as when they shop at home.”
The EPP Group is convinced that by tearing down legal barriers, we are supporting our very small companies in particular, allowing them to get their fair share of e-commerce. We believe that one EU-wide rule instead of 28 different national rules will make life easier for EU consumers and businesses.
“We work to provide better protection for consumers and show how we are easing the way they purchase online and offline. At least 70 million Europeans have had problems with software or digital services, and only 10% of them received a remedy. If we want to expand e-commerce and enable people to buy and sell across sales channels, we cannot afford fragmented rules. With this Directive, we are clearly showing that at EU level, we are solving the everyday problems of our citizens by harmonising their rights when purchasing digital content”, said Eva Maydell MEP, the EPP Group’s Shadow Rapporteur in the Internal Market Committee.
The Directive on the sales of goods, conducted on behalf of the Parliament and pushed through by EPP Group MEP Pascal Arimont, will give European consumers a harmonised level of protection in case of faulty goods: “With this new legislation, we have created a new European framework for all types of purchases. Whether you buy a good online or offline, digital content like an app, or a subscription to a streaming service, you will be entitled to the same set of robust consumers rights. Strengthening consumers’ and boosting traders’ confidence to engage in cross-border sales is a win-win for shoppers and sellers in the EU.”
According to the new rules on goods, consumers buying online or in a brick and mortar store will be entitled all over the EU to equal remedies – free repair or replacement, price reduction and contract termination with refund – if they purchase faulty products. Smart goods (e.g. smart fridges or connected watches) are also covered by the legislation which is the first to include specific trader liability provisions on goods with digital elements.