EEA EFTA Comment on contracts for the sale of goods

Published 12-10-2018
On 12 October 2018, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway submitted a joint EEA EFTA Comment on the European Commission’s revised proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sales of goods. The Comment was addressed to the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

An initial proposal on the online sales of goods was adopted by the Commission in December 2015, together with the proposal on the supply of digital content, as part of the Commission's commitment to deliver on its Digital Single Market Strategy. An EEA EFTA Comment was issued on 21 December 2016.

The amended proposal on sales of goods, adopted on 31 October 2017, aims at breaking down differences in national contract law, hindering cross-border trade, and at giving consumers the same legal rights independently of the sales channel. The amendments to the proposal followed calls to align the rules applicable to online and offline sales. Given the importance of both online and offline sales for consumers and businesses, this amended proposal will ensure that they benefit from on a coherent legal framework in the EEA.

In their comment, the EEA EFTA States welcomed the Commission’s approach in the amended proposal, covering all sales channels without any differentiation. Furthermore, the EEA EFTA States favour rules with a minimum harmonization approach covering the sales of goods to consumers.

The EEA EFTA States furthermore recalled their long-held view that for goods intended to last for a considerably longer time than two years, the consumer’s access to remedies for lack of conformity should not be shorter than five years. Therefore, it should also under the new rules be possible to regulate at national level access to remedies after the legal guarantee period in EU/EEA legislation has expired.

Finally, to ensure a fair balance the EEA EFTA States recommend that the new legislation should include on the one hand an incentive for the consumer to notify the seller of any lack of conformity within a reasonable time. On the other hand, the seller should be given an opportunity to claim a fair compensation for substantial use of goods enjoyed by the consumer prior to termination of a sales contract. A fair balance may prevent a shift from sale to lease of goods, the latter not enjoying the same level of consumer protection under EU/EEA law. 

The full EEA EFTA Comment is available here

A full list of EEA EFTA Comments is available here.

 

Officer
Internal Market Division

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