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New Consumer Rights Directive could seriously affect trade


New legislation currently on its first reading in the European Parliament could have a major impact on UK and European trading.

The new Consumer Rights Directive aims to amend the following four consumer rights acts:

  • Sale of consumer goods and guarantees (99/44/EC)
  • Unfair contract terms (93/13/EC)
  • Distance selling (97/7/EC
  • Doorstop Selling (85/577/EC)

The aim of the CRD is to - “protect online shoppers and boost consumer confidence in buying in other member states”.

The amendments, which if passed will apply whether a transaction is made in a shop, on the phone, online or by mail order, include:

  • A 14-day window in which consumers across the EU can change their mind about the transaction and a legal responsibility for sellers to deliver goods within 30 days.
  • Retailers will be forced to cover the return costs for order values of more than €40. The risk for businesses, are that it will encourage consumers to order without intending to purchase, therefore placing an overwhelming financial burden on small businesses selling online.
  • All retailers will be required to sell into any EU country, which will result in retailers being pushed into selling in unknown markets, which might not be appropriate for their business model.

The first reading of the new directive was held on March 24th and the final vote was postponed until June with possible implementation in July 2011.

Some additional information can be found at:

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