De Jong: European Sales Law an attack on consumers' rights

26 February 2014

De Jong: European Sales Law an attack on consumers' rights

The European Parliament votes today on proposals for an EU sales law. This legislation would apply for cross-border purchases within the EU, but SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong is completely opposed to the measure. ‘Together with other MEPs I’ve presented a proposal that this be thrown out in its entirety,’ he says. ‘A few years ago, on a proposal from the SP, the European Parliament gave the member states the possibility of extending more rights to the consumer then are provided in the EU’s consumer directive. This has now to a large extent been reversed. Via this new proposal firms can choose which rules will apply when they’re involved in cross-border purchases. This means that important consumer rights can be kicked into touch, because in such a case the Dutch consumer will no longer be able to call on our own national consumer law. We decidedly don’t want this, and I really hope that the European Parliament will support my motion to reject.’

Dennis de JongThe Dutch Consumers’ Association shares the SP’s criticisms of the proposal. ’According to them this concerns, amongst other things, guarantee periods’ he explains. ‘As things stand you usually have a guarantee in the event that a product stops working before the end of its normal lifespan. Soon, under this proposal, this would be subject to a maximum of six years. In addition, if you subscribe for instance to a magazine, you have the right to give it up on a monthly basis, but with the European sales law you will only be able to do this annually. It will also be more difficult to get through the small print, as general conditions will always apply. Lastly, under Dutch law you have to pay a maximum of 50% of the price up front when buying over the Internet, but the EU legislative proposal contains no such limit, and only speaks of percentages which are not excessive.’

Should the EP vote in favour of the proposal, this will still not be, for the European Commission, a done deal. ‘A lot of member states are against it,’ De Jong points out, ‘and I’m confident therefore that the Council of Ministers won’t approve it, even should the EP do so.’

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