Fabian Demicoli

Consumer Rights Directive


The GRTU EU Desk has this
week held and information session / consultation meeting on the new Consumer
Rights Directive.

This Directive will be transposed into Maltese law by end of
the year and members were invited to learn what this Directive will introduce
and to give their opinion on certain options given to all Member States by the
Commission that Malta can choose to uphold.
The regulations will be published into Maltese law by
13 December 2013 and shall become applicable from 13
June 2014.

 

Purpose

The purpose of this Directive is to achieve a high level of
consumer protection, provide consumers with more confidence when purchasing
from the single market and contribute to the proper functioning of the internal
market.

Replacing which Directives

The Directive replaces the Directive on the Protection of
consumers in respect of contracts negotiated away from business premises
(Doorstep Contracts) and the Directive on the Protection of consumers in
respect of distance contracts (Distance selling).

 

Definitions

Distance contracts (a contract concluded without the physical presence
of the trader and the consumer)

Off premises contracts (in a premises that is not that of the trader
or concluded during an excursion organized by the trader with the aim or effect
of promoting)

 

Exclusions

The Directive does not apply to contracts in: Social
Services, Healthcare, Gambling, Financial Services, Transactions to immovable
property, Package travel, package holidays and package tours, Timeshare and
most aspects of passenger travel.

 

Pre- contractual info to be
provided for contracts concluded at the trader's premises

The main characteristic of the good or service

Identity of trader – Trade name, address and telephone number

Total final price including taxes and applicable charges

Payment and time of delivery

Trader's complaint handling policy

Reminder of existence of legal guarantee and any after sales services
and commercial guarantee

Duration of contract or if indefinite duration, the conditions for
terminating contact

 

Pre-contractual info to be provided
for distance and off premises contracts

The main characteristics of the goods and services

Identity of trader – address, telephone and fax number, email

Total final price including taxes and applicable charges

Payment and time of delivery

Trader's complaint handling policy

Reminder of existence of legal guarantee and any after sales services
and commercial guarantee

Where applicable consumer will have to bear the costs for withdrawal
from the contract and returning the goods

Duration of contract or if indefinite duration, the conditions for
terminating contact

This information is to be provided on durable medium

 

Formal requirements for
off-premises contracts

The information is to be provided on a paper or another durable medium

The information is to be legible and in plain, intelligible language

 

The trader is to provide the consumer with a copy of the signed
contract

 

Formal requirements for distance
contracts

The information is to be provided in a way
appropriate to the means of distance communication used in plain and
intelligible language

If a distance contract by electronic means places
an obligation to pay the traders is to make the consumer aware

If placing an order entails activating a button,
the button shall be labeled in an easy legible manner only with the works
‘order with the obligation to pay' or something similar

 

Right of withdrawal

  • Consumer has a period of 14 days to cancel the contract without the
    need to give any reason
  • If trader does not provide information about the right of withdrawal,
    the cancellation period will last for 12 months
  • Consumer exercises this right if communication is sent before the
    period is expired
  • If contract is terminated during cancellation period, the trader must
    provide the consumer with a refund within 14 days of notification
  • The consumer is to bear the costs for returning the goods if he was
    clearly informed of this obligation before contract was concluded

 

 

 

Exceptions from withdrawal rights

  • The supply of goods made to the consumer's specifications
  • The supply of goods which are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly
  • The supply of sealed goods which are not suitable for return due to
    health protection or hygiene reasons and were unsealed after delivery
  • Contracts concluded at a public auction

 

 

 

Surcharges for the use of credit
cards and hotlines

  • Payment fees – Cannot exceed the cost to the trader for the use of
    credit cards or any method of payment
  • Post-contract customer helpline – not to pay more than the basic rate

 

Other consumer rights

  • Delivery – unless agreed otherwise, not later than 30 days from
    conclusion of contract
  • Passing of risk – loss or damage of goods passes to the consumer once
    delivery to the party indicated by consumer
  • Additional payments – Consumer must give consent for additional
    products or service (pre-ticked boxes not permitted)
  • Inertia Selling – absence of response from the consumer following an
    unsolicited supply or provision does not constitute consent

 

The consultation, including the draft Legal Notice and the EU
Directive can be accessed at:

http://www.mccaa.org.mt/en/consultations

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