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EU to ‘abandon’ consumer rights

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A shopper’s right to reject faulty goods looks set to be diminished as new Eurpoean Laws may limit consumer protections against unruly retailers.

Under the Consumer Rights Directive, shoppers may lose their entitlement to refunds on unwanted or faulty goods, while retailers will also be banned from offering money-back guarantees to their customers.

The move has been challenged by the Law Commission and MEPs who feel UK consumers will be ‘short-changed’ by new EU legislation, as Tory MEP, Malcolm Harbour, told the press: “We will not accept a move that undermines such rights.”

A report by the British House of Lords EU Committee has been highly critical of the EU Directive, claiming shoppers will be at a huge disadvantage in the retail market. Mats Persson, member of the Open Europe think tank, accused the directive of “sweeping away” consumers.

“This watering-down of British consumer rights represents a significant power grab by the EU and consumers will be rightly horrified that it wants to denude the UK’s national safeguards,” said Mr Persson.

The Department for Business also threw its weight behind fierce criticisms, demanding that the right to refunds be retained by UK law.

“It is a cornerstone of the UK consumer protection regime and highly valued by the public,” said a Department spokesman.

“We are continuing to work on securing an amendment to the proposed directive which will retain the right to reject for UK consumers. We are optimistic that we will be able to achieve a satisfactory solution.”

Under current consumer laws, customers have the right to a refund or replacement if a product is faulty or not properly described, so long as the problem is reported within a “reasonable time”.

Written by Andrew Hodges

November 8, 2009 at 12:37 am

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn, New Law

Tagged with , ,

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