NEW CONSUMER LAW 2014 – Comaskey Properties

The new EC Consumer Rights directive applies now to all member states in Europe with affect from 13th June 2014 and so has been approved in Spain.

“Today Europe is putting an end to consumer rip-offs online. Every consumer in the European Union can claim his or her rights under the Consumer Rights Directive meaning: no more pre-ticked boxes when you buy a plane ticket, no more extra charges for paying with your credit card online and no more traders telling you that you can’t return a good you bought online,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner.

There are four key changes for consumers and traders: cost transparency, the returns process, consumer protection and common rules for businesses. It applies primarily to online or off premises sales.
The following points are the most important ones within these:-

• Hidden charges and costs on the internet will be eliminated. Fraudsters cannot use tricks to con someone to pay for something they thought was free, like offers on the internet that advertise something as free when in reality it is not (for example horoscopes or recipes).Consumers explicitly are explained they have to pay a price and asked to accept it.
• Pre-ticked boxes will be banned in the EU. For example, when boxes are pre-ticked for travel insurance.
• 14 calendar days to change your mind on a purchase (previously the law was 7 days), for whatever reason if you change your mind. Where the seller has not properly informed the consumer of the withdrawal right, this will be extended to a year. This is extended to online auctions, such as Ebay (but only for professional sellers, not private ones).
• The withdrawal period starts from when the consumer receives the goods, not the contract date as at the moment. The rules apply to internet, phone and mail order sales, as well as to sales outside shops, in the street, at a Tupperware party or during an excursion organised by the trader.
• Better refund rights. The consumer must be refunded within 14 days, including costs of delivery.
• Clearer information on who pays for returning goods. If traders want the consumer to pay for the cost of returning goods after they change their mind, they have to clearly inform consumers beforehand, otherwise they have to pay for the return themselves.
• Price transparency. Consumers must be informed of the total cost of a service and any extras will not have to be paid if not properly informed before they place an order.
• Model EU standard withdrawal form introduced making it easier to withdraw from a contract made over the telephone or online.
• Surcharges eliminated for the use of credit cards and hotlines. Traders will not be able to charge consumers more for paying by credit card or other means of payment than what it actually costs the trader. Traders who operate telephone hotlines will not be able charge more than the basic telephone rate for the telephone calls.
• Paper invoices. Many companies have charged more for paper bills and only delivered internet bills. This was a problem for many Spanish pensioners. Now customers cannot be charged for bills printed and the internet billing will be the opt-in measure.
• Cold Callers must identify the company they represent from the outset and the reason for calling. Calls cannot be made between 21:00 and 9:00 or at any time at weekends and public holidays.
• Better consumer protection for digital purchases such as information relating to digital content. (details of the hardware and software the product works with).
Very good news for us all, as there were too many scams with over priced call lines and difficulties returning items purchased online.

For any legal assistance of any manner, please contact Amanda at Spanish Solutions on 00 34 966760917 or [email protected]

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