EU shoppers' rights boosted for online and offline purchases (video)  


Consumers gain additional rights whether they buy online or offline, under new EU rules approved by the Parliament. Watch the video to know more.

On 26 March MEPs approved two directives boosting consumers' rights to receive compensation when buying a faulty product and harmonising EU countries' laws to create a level playing field for vendors all over the EU.

Digital content

The rules on contracts for the supply of digital content were created as a result of the challenges posed by new technology. In many EU countries, there are no explicit rules on the sale of digital content, such as apps, music or games. It can be difficult for consumers to know what to do if something goes wrong with their purchase.

Digital contracts will be covered by the new rules both when it concerns a subscription, for example for a music streaming service, or a one-off purchase, such as a game on a smartphone. Consumers are protected not only when they pay for goods, but also when they provide personal data, as is the case on social networks.

People would be entitled to a price reduction or refund within 14 days if the problem is not fixed within a reasonable time.

Tangible goods

If the software is embedded in the product purchased, as is the case with smart appliances such as a smart fridge, the purchaser is covered by the directive on the sales of goods.

The new rules will apply to the online and offline sales of all tangible products all over the EU and aim to harmonise the standard of protection for all member states. By improving consumer trust and giving legal certainty to businesses, the directive is expected to boost international trade for small businesses.

Shoppers all over the EU will have two years to turn to the seller in case of faulty products, no matter if the product in question is an app or a washing machine.

In addition, the new rules double the time during which the consumer stays free from the burden of proof. This means that if the defect becomes apparent within one year from the delivery or supply, it is assumed to have existed since the start: the buyer would not need to prove that the product, digital content or service was defective.

The Council approved the directives on 15 April. EU countries have two years to adapt to the new rules.