European Union: European Consumer Consultive Group publishes opinion on Commission Proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights

The European Consumer Consultative Group (ECCG), the Commission’s main forum to consult national and European consumer organisations, on Oct. 6 published a prelimniary opinion on the Commission Proposal for a Directive on consumer rights.Interestingly, ECCG does not believe the minimum harmonisation approach of the current directives has genuinely created barriers to cross-border trade and feels that other reasons such as differences in language, tax regimes, the lack of redress systems are much more relevant in this context.The ECCG regrets that the proposal:does not provide for a high level of consumer protection, but rather requires Member States to reduce well-established consumer protection levels, including in some cases, to levels below those provided in the current directives. In addition, ECCG is concerned that Member States will be prevented from increasing these levels in future;includes only a few laudable improvements such as a common 14 days cooling-off period and the regime for the passing of risks;fails to introduce the promised clarifications and coherence of the consumer acquis, not least because it is limited to just four directives only;is unclear on a series of key issues such as the relationship with nationalgeneral contract law and other relevant EU legislation;fails to respond adequately to the challenges of modern markets and new technologies and in fact may prevent national developments to address these concerns – especially those related to digital content.Full text of ECCG opinion available for download in pdf here>>.

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