European Commission proposes Directive for online sales of goods

Wednesday, 9 December, 2015

On 9 December 2015, the European Commission adopted: 1) a proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content, and 2) a proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods, as previously announced by the Commission in its 2015 Work Programme.

Both proposals fully harmonise the key mandatory rights and obligations of the parties to a contract for the supply of digital content and the online sales of goods. The proposal for the online sales of goods shifts the burden of proof for the absence of lack of conformity from the current 6 months to 2 years. The proposal also clarifies that it is up to the consumer to choose between repair and replacement unless the option chosen would be disproportionate compared to the other option available, impossible or unlawful. For an animated infographic with the main highlights of the proposals, please click here.

On 14 January 2016 the European Parliament held a first exchange of views on the draft Directives. The majority of MEPs were positive about the proposals and welcomed them as good initiatives. However, several MEPs were concerned about splitting the rules for online and offline sales of goods and said this is neither helpful for consumers nor businesses. The Commission will examine in the coming months the potential amendment of the proposal to address the critics on this issue.

For the proposal on online sales of goods, please click here.

For the proposal for the supply of digital content, please click here