A New Deal for Consumers
Today, the European Commission is proposing a New Deal for Consumers to ensure that all European consumers fully benefit from their rights under Union law.
While the EU already has some of the strongest rules on consumer protection in the world, recent cases like the Dieselgate scandal, have shown that it is difficult to enforce them fully in practice. The New Deal for Consumers will empower qualified entities to launch representative actions on behalf of consumers and introduce stronger sanctioning powers for Member States’ consumer authorities. It will also extend consumers’ protection when they are online and clarify how EU law to clarify that dual quality practices misleading consumers are prohibited. First Vice-President Timmermans said: “Today’s New Deal is about delivering a fairer Single Market that benefits consumers and businesses. We introduce a European collective redress right for when groups of consumers have suffered harm, like we have seen in the recent past, with proper safeguards so there can be no misuse. Consumers will know who they are buying from online, and when sellers have paid to appear in search results. The majority of traders who play fair will see burdens lifted. The handful of traders who deliberately abuse European consumers’ trust will be sanctioned with tougher fines. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality added: “In aglobalised world where the big companies have a huge advantage over individual consumers we need to level the odds. Representative actions, in the European way, willbring more fairness to consumers, not more business for law firms. And with stronger sanctions linked to the annual turnover of a company, consumer authorities will finally get teeth to punish the cheaters. It cannot be cheap to cheat.” The New Deal for Consumers will mean: 1. Strengthening consumer rights online
- More transparency in online market places –When buying from an online market place, consumers will have to be clearly informed about whether they are buying products or services from a trader or from a private person, so they know whether they are protected by consumer rights if something goes wrong.
- More transparency on search results on online platforms –When searchingonline, consumers will be clearly informed when a search result is being paid for by a trader. Moreover, online marketplaces will have to inform the consumers about the main parameters determining the ranking of the results. New consumer rights for “free” digital services –When paying for a digitalservice, consumers benefit from certain information rights and have 14 days to cancel their contract (withdrawal right). The New Deal for Consumers will now extend this right to ‘free’ digital services for which consumers provide their personal data, but do not pay with money. This typically would apply to cloud storage services, social media or email accounts.
- Representative action, the European way – Under the New Deal forConsumers it will be possible for a qualified entity, such as a consumer organisation, to seek redress, such as compensation, replacement or repair, on behalf of a group of consumers that have been harmed by an illegal commercial practice. In some Member States, it is already possible for consumers to launch collective actions in courts, but now this possibility will be available in all EU countries.
- Better protection against unfair commercial practices –The New Deal forConsumers will ensure that consumers in all Member States have the right to claim individual remedies (e.g. financial compensation or termination of contract) when they are affected by unfair commercial practices, such as aggressive or misleading marketing. This protection currently varies greatly across the EU.
- A proposal to amend Council Directive on unfair terms in consumercontracts, Directive on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers, Directive concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices and Directive on consumer rights. This proposal’s aim is to ensure better enforcement and to modernise EU consumer protection rules, in particular in light of digital developments;
- A proposal on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers and repealing the Injunctions Directive 2009/22/EC. This proposal aims to improve tools for stopping illegal practices and facilitating redress for consumers where many of them are victims of the same infringement of their rights, in a mass harm situation.