Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Will Consumer Rights Directive harmonise 2 or 4 EU consumer directives? Come on, take a guess.

A few days ago I wrote (And then there were two...) about the Council's agreement on the new proposal for the Consumer Rights Directive. They reached consensus on harmonization of two currently binding European Directives on: Distance and Doorstep Selling.

Today, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament adopted in a vote it's own version of the future Consumer Rights Directive and they seemed to have included in it all four Directives that were originally reviewed (that is, together with the Consumer Sales Directive and Unfair Contract Terms Directive). Most members of the Committee of the European Parliament were convinced that the consumers should not only be protected in the same way across EU when they conclude online (or other distance or off-premises) contracts, which seemed to have dominated the debate in the past few months. The European Parliament might still want to aim at the same level of protection for consumers regardless whether they purchase a good in stores or online. Moreover, they intend for the Consumer Rights Directive to include a list of unfair contractual terms.

The European Parliament does not follow fully the recommendation of the European Commission by not choosing to adopt full harmonization. After so much criticism the idea of full harmonization had received it did not really come as a surprise that EP choosed for a mix of minimum (e.g. as to remedies for lack of conformity) and maximum harmonization (the last one as to: information requirements, delivery deadlines, right of withdrawal).

While the Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal of its own Committee in March in a plenary session, the action plot is getting thicker. What kind of substance is the Consumer Rights Directive going to end up with? Is anyone going to be happy with it?

More in the European Parliament's press release of yesterday.

1 comment:

  1. Targeting full harmonisation:) It seems appropriate to restrict full harmonisation approach to certain "technical" aspects of consumer law - whih could be easily clasified and unified. Such issues are supposed to be better accepted and implemented by national systems of law. For the time being it makes full harmonisation approach less controversial.