EEA EFTA Comment regarding better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules

Published 19-11-2018
On 19 November 2018, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway submitted a joint EEA EFTA Comment on the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive regarding better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules. The Comment was addressed to the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

The proposal was part of the New Deal for Consumers package adopted by the European Commission on 11 April 2018. It aims at strengthening consumer rights online by creating more transparency in online market places and in search results on online platforms and establishes new consumer rights for “free” digital services. It furthermore creates better protection against unfair commercial practices by ensuring that consumers will have the right to claim individual remedies (e.g. financial compensation or termination of contract) when they are affected by for example aggressive or misleading marketing.

In their Comment, the EEA EFTA States support the proposed approximation of national rules on penalties for infringements of EU consumer law. However, decisions related to the allocation of revenues from fines should be addressed at national level. Notably, provisions on the allocation of revenues from fines would appear to fall outside the scope of the EEA Agreement.

The EEA EFTA States furthermore support introducing rights to remedies for consumers harmed by unfair commercial practices and take this opportunity to suggest wording to clarify the text of the Directive so that a hierarchy of remedies can be decided at national level. 

The EEA EFTA States are concerned about the proposal to limit the right to withdraw from online and off-premises contracts. This could be perceived as lowering the level of consumer protection in the internal market.  They have noted that the European Commission has not provided sufficient data to prove that the current rules are disproportionately burdensome for traders.

The EEA EFTA States agree that there is a need to update parts of the consumer acquis for the Digital Single Market. They support the proposed rules for online marketplaces, hidden marketing in online search engines and free digital services. At the same time, they suggest extending the scope of some of the proposed information requirements for online marketplaces, so that they also become applicable at marketing stage. They also recommend broadening the ban on hidden marketing to include digital channels other than search engines, notably social media and blogs.

 

The full EEA EFTA Comment is available here

A full list of EEA EFTA Comments is available here.

Officer
Internal Market Division

+32 22861 772

Seminar on the European Economic Area - Brussels 14 February 2019