Proposed EU law could undermine online rights says group

The Business Software Alliance warns that the proposed Consumer Rights Directive could reduce consumer rights

Members of the software industry have warned that the current draft of Europe’s Consumer Rights Directive could undermine protection for users of digital services.

The European Parliament voted on Thursday to enter into negotiations with the European Commission and European Council on a final text of the law.

One of the main rules that the draft directive proposes relates to the withdrawal, or goods-return, period for customers. The proposed withdrawal period for consumers is 14 days starting from the moment the consumer receives the goods, rather than at the time of ordering them. The consumer also has the right to be reimbursed within 14 days.

However, digital goods, such as music, films or software program, will be exempted from the right of withdrawal. The sale will be regarded as concluded from the moment downloading begins. It is unclear, however, where liability lies should the download fail.

Despite the withdrawal-period exemption for software, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), whose members include Adobe, Dell, Intel, McAfee, Microsoft and Symantec, criticized the proposal. The BSA said that the directive attempts to apply protections intended for tangible goods to software and other digital services that simply don’t work.

“A software program is supplied to the user under a license agreement, which is quite different than delivery of physical goods such as a toaster or personal computer,” said Francisco Mingorance, who is in charge of European Union government affairs at BSA.

“For digital services like software, safeguards are needed that protect consumers given the unique ways in which digital services are acquired, delivered and used," Mingorance said. "The Consumer Rights Directive is not the appropriate instrument to address protection for digital services.”

However, the new E.U. law should cover almost all sales, whether made in a shop, by phone, by post or online, according to the European Parliament. “It will update existing rules to take account of growth in internet sales and provide better protection for online shoppers.”

“The current rules are fragmented, preventing citizens and businesses from taking full advantage of our Single Market. The proposal will increase consumer protection by eliminating hidden charges and costs on the Internet and pre-ticked boxes on websites, such as for express delivery or travel insurance,” added Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding.

Once an agreement is reached between the E.U. institutions, the Parliament could then adopt the legislation after a final vote in June or July.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Tags european commissionlegalinternetgovernment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?