The new Consumer Rights Directive of the EU enforces Consumer Rights

The Consumer Rights Directive brings significant changes to the European Union’s online selling and purchasing landscape and standardises national legislation across EU Member States. It aims to simplify consumer rights and make them more transparent for consumers of goods and services.

The new EU Consumer Rights Directive – which came into effect for all EU Member States on 13th June 2014 –strengthens consumer rights by giving consumers the same rights across the EU, while striking the right balance between consumer protection and economic competitiveness.

The Directive on Consumer Rights aims at achieving a real business-to-consumer (B2C) internal market, striking the right balance between a high level of consumer protection and the competitiveness of enterprises. The Directive on Consumer Rights (2011/83/EC) replaces Directive 97/7/EC on the protection of consumers in respect to distance contracts as well as Directive 85/577/EEC to protect consumers in respect to contracts negotiated away from business premises. Directive 1999/44/EC on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees as well as the Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts remains in force. EU Member States were required to adapt national laws to the Directive by the end of the year 2013.

The rules have been designed to strengthen consumer rights, and ensure a higher level of protection regardless of whether consumers are shopping on site or online, at home or somewhere else within the EU. Consumers will benefit from EU-wide consumer rules on information available to the consumers prior to purchasing goods and services and rights related to the cancellation of online purchases. For instance, consumers will now have a better overall picture of the total purchase price of a product or service due to requirements on the disclosure of total costs including any extra fees.

The Directive also stipulates definitions of terms and specifies that the Member States are required to follow unless an exception from the rules has been included in the Directive.

Companies and businesses, in order to adhere to the new regulations, may have to rework their product information, contracts and websites.

If you would like more information about the recent changes or are concerned about how they may affect your company, please contact us at vienna (at)