SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong supports agreement on consumer protection

21 November 2017

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong supports agreement on consumer protection

Today the vote was held in the European Parliament on new rules governing consumer protection in relation to digital content. Products involved include software, DVDs and apps, as well as online services such as those stored in the cloud. Explaining why he voted in favour of the new measures, SP Euro-MP Dennis Dennis de Jong said: “Normally the SP is very reluctant to approve total harmonisation of consumer law, because it means that in the Netherlands we can't agree any laws which deviate from the EU norm, even if this would represent an improvement for the consumer. The outcome of the long negotiations in the European Parliament is, however, so beneficial to Dutch consumers that I was able to vote in favour. With these regulations, as drawn up by the EP, everyone will know what his or her rights are, wherever in the EU they bought their software. That's a gain, especially when you consider that these products are often bought and sold online, when international borders play less of a role.”

“An important subject was the guarantee term,” says De Jong. “In the Netherlands the guarantee lasts for the expected life of a product, but in many other member states there's a fixed term. But now we have agreed that a two year guarantee will be the general rule, but that countries such as the Netherlands, which have a superior rule, can simply keep it. On other points we have even made progress. If you download an app free of charge, you are in reality paying, but in personal data. This proposal ensures that this too will now be counted as a purchase, so that consumer law will apply fully. If the app for example terminally crashes your smartphone, free or not, then the vendor will be responsible for its repair.”

On other points too the Dutch consumer will benefit, provided the EP's text survives co-decision with the Council, where further amendments remain possible. “As things stand, in the Netherlands the vendor, in the six months after the sale, must prove that misuse by the purchaser was the reason why the software or digital service isn't working or isn't working properly,” De Jong explains. “This period has now been extended to two years. This is good for anyone who isn't techno-savvy, because how can you know what's gone wrong if all of a sudden you can't get into the files on your Dropbox any more.”

After an extremely long and bureaucratic process involving two parliamentary committees and the negotiation of almost a thousand proposed amendments, a compromise has been reached which had the support of almost the entire parliament. Now negotiations can begin with the Council of Ministers. De Jong will continue to be involved in these talks and will keep an eye on whether consumer rights are being once more weakened.

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