The European Union consists of 28 members, all present in the European continent, which pledges allegiance in both political and economic matters that concerns their overall population of over 510 million. The formation of European Union created a Single Internal Market which facilitates free movement of Goods, Services and Capital. It also led the way to a Single Monetary Union known as the Euro zone, which is composed of 19 member states who use the Euro currency. It deserves to mention that since the Brit Method was voted out the United Kingdom, part of the EU, started the procedure to leave the Union, for which the term ‘Brexit’ is used.
European Union Consumer Law
The creation of single market and single currency called for laws that protect rights of consumers across borders. High level of consumer protection is considered a birth right. The law was designed keeping in mind the diversity of the continent and its effects on the market environment. It ensures that the consumers are entitled to the same minimum rights at any given place in the European Union. It draws its inspiration from the very famous Consumer Bill of Rights put forth by the Late President of United States, John J Kennedy in 1962. The bill encourages more power to consumer as more often it is the consumers who have less information and less bargaining power in the marketplace when compared to the sellers.
As a first step, The Product Liability Directive was developed by the European union in 1985. It lays out the basic directive that the Producers and suppliers are responsible for the products they sell and in the event of a product causing damage to consumer, they will be responsible to compensate the consumer. This measure led to the development of adhering to basic health and safety standards at the time of production.
The European union also recognized that the sellers and buyers have unequal bargaining power at the time of a transaction. In order to protect the consumer, the law sets forth legislative “Charter of Rights” i.e Right to Safe and healthy products, Right to proper information free from misleading advertising and marketing, Right to fair terms and Rights of cancellation. A defect is anything that falls below the standards.
The European union took the second step by developing “The Unfair terms in Consumer Contracts Directive” in 1993. Under this measure, a term or contract is unfair if
- It is not individually negotiated
- It causes a significant imbalance in the rights and obligations of the parties , detrimental to the consumer.
Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/EU
The Consumer Rights Directive is a consumer protection measure in the European Union’s Consumer Law. It applies to all trade contracts implemented after June 13, 2014. However, it excludes financial services, property services, social services, passenger transport, healthcare, gambling, timeshare and package travel. It details the following:
- Consumer to be provided all relevant information before he makes a purchase in the trader’s premises or away from the trader’s premises.
- Consumer to be made aware of his rights of cancellation and his responsibilities when he buys goods or services away from the trader’s premise.
- Expected delivery timelines and After sales service terms and conditions.
All the above measures make the European union a Safe place for exchange of good and services.