Consumer rights in online sales of goods can’t be weakened

BEUC NEWS - 20.06.2016

Consumer organisations are concerned at the Commission’s plans to harmonise legal guarantees across the EU in a way that would weaken consumer protection. The so-called ‘maximum-level of harmonisation’  would lower consumer rights in Member States, for example, where the legal guarantee period is longer than two years, or where the consumer can choose what remedy he wants in case a good is faulty.


Another worrying development is that the Commission is proposing to create different sets of rights for consumers according to whether the product is purchased online or in a shop. This is unnecessary and is likely to be even more confusing for consumers.

The proposal on sales of goods online has some positive elements, such as a two year reversal of the burden of proof. This means that, in the event that the good does not conform with the contract, it is up to the trader to prove the good was not faulty from the start. However, overall, the proposal would reduce consumer protection when they buy goods online. As a result, BEUC is urging the Parliament and Council of Ministers to improve the Commission’s proposal if they want consumers to feel the EU is working for them.

BEUC’s position on the proposal for a Directive on certain Aspects concerning Contracts for Distance Sales of Goods is available .