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Consumer Rights Directive – What it means for you

The new Consumer Rights Directive will come into force in 2014, and represents the most comprehensive overhaul in that area for a long time. The idea is to clean up the market so that the customer gets the protection and support they deserve, while allowing for the necessary competition to continue. There is much to discuss about this major change to consumer rights law, so we will keep it to the basics: what it means for you – the consumer – and how you can benefit.

What Changes with the Consumer Rights Directive?

There are many areas of consumer rights and finance that will change when the Consumer Rights Directive comes into force, and most of the changes are for the benefit of the consumer. For instance, those ‘hidden’ credit card surcharges that are added when it is too late will be outlawed, and the use of premium phone lines for orders will also be banned. Furthermore, the current right to return for purchases online and from door to door salesman of seven days will be extended to two weeks. Additionally, websites will no longer be allowed to use pre-ticked opt in boxes, a popular way of netting extra costs, as they will be required to give the buyer the opt out route.

More Benefit for the Consumer

The Directive is designed to cover all areas of commerce including finance and travel, and is a major move by the European Parliament. Traders will be required to supply goods within 30 days of the order, with the customer entitled to give ‘reasonable’ extra time and then cancel. The structure of the regulations means that consumers are protected more than ever before, and the cost of buying – and selling – online will also be better controlled.