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As we have already commented on this blog, in the context of the creation of the Digital Single Market, the EU is in the process of passing two new directives relating to the supply of digital content and online and offline sales of goods.

On Tuesday March 26, the European Parliament approved the wording of the directives, leaving just the final approval of the Council before Member States begin to transpose them into law.

As we said, the aim of these directives is to introduce a series of common regulations to offer heightened safeguards and legal recourse to consumers carrying out crossborder transactions.

The digital content directive offers consumers that (i) buy and download music, video, applications, etc.; (ii) have social media profiles; and (iii) buy cloud storage services greater protection from defective or interrupted services. The protection will also apply to consumers that provide data in exchange for such content or service.

In particular, consumers will enjoy the following legal recourse:

  • If it is not possible to fix a fault in the digital service or content in a reasonable time, the consumer will be entitled to a price reduction or a full reimbursement within 14 days.
  • If a defect becomes apparent within one year of the date of supply, it is presumed that it existed already at that time, without the need for the consumer to prove it. For continuous supplies, the burden will lie with the provider for the whole contract.
  • For digital content sales, the legal guarantee cannot last for less than two years. For continuous supplies, it should apply throughout the duration of the contract.

The directive on the sales of goods, both online and offline, will apply to products that include digital elements, e.g., Smart TVs, and consumers will have access to a series of new legal remedies, including:

  • If a defect arises within two years of receiving the product, the trader will be liable. That period may even be longer in Member States where there is currently a longer protection period.
  • For products with digital elements, consumers are entitled to receive updates for the period that a consumer can reasonably expect, according to the type and purpose of the goods in question.

We will keep you informed of new developments in the final approval of these directives.

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claudia.morgado@cuatrecasas.com

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