Fabian Demicoli

Consumer Rights Directive: GRTU’s concerns are also Government’s

GRTU had written to Hon Chris Said explaining its concern about the definition of off-premises contracts being not acceptable and heavily burden SMEs. Because of the excessive extension of the scope of the aforementioned definition, on the one hand through a general definition in article 2(8)a) and b) of the proposal, and on the other hand since the text does not make any distinction between a visit "solicited" or "unsolicited" by the consumer. We believe that the definition of off premises contract is sufficiently regulated in the legal framework currently in place.

 

Furthermore, according to this proposed definition, a contract which is concluded in-premises or through any means of distance communication but was negotiated off-premises or in respect of which an offer was made off premises should be considered immediately as an off-premises contract. In consequence this would mean that most contracts concluded by a craftsman are covered by this definition. In addition to all the burdensome provisions related to this definition, such as the 14 days withdrawal period, excessive information requirements also apply, as craftsmen usually negotiate in the premises of the consumer in order to take measurements there on the wish of the consumer.

Dr Chris Said informed GRTU that Government shares our concern and that Malta has taken a strong position on this issue throughout the negotiations. Government upheld that ‘off premises' contacts should only include unsolicited visits since some services require on-site visits by their very nature and it is very common that a contract is concluded or that negotiations are concluded on-site. Government explained that in this respect, it is also considered that the regime within the Directive, in particular the information requirements, could be burdensome and disproportionate for the provision of certain services.

Government further assured the GRTU that Malta has already indicated that it will vote against the compromise proposal and that Malta will maintain this position throughout the forthcoming inter-institutional negotiations. GRTU is pleased with the results.

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