The head of the office of the European Consumer Center in Spain, Pilar Biesa, attended on Monday 1st October, the new meeting organised by the European Commission, the Spanish Ministry of Salud, Consumo y Bienestar Social, and the Consejo de Consumidores y Usuarios in order to analyse the new European legal framework (New Deal for Consumers) that is expected to be approved next April 2019. Under the title "Diálogo Nacional: Nuevo marco para los consumidores", different experts in Consumption analysed the new rights that European consumers can benefit once the new package of measures is approved.
With the new deal for consumers, the entities authorised for this purpose may carry out collective representation actions whenever numerous consumers´ rights have been violated by the same company. In these cases, the authorised entities will stand up for consumers´s rights on behalf of them and may even reach an economic agreement. As Blanca Rodríguez-Galindo of DG Justice and Consumers Head of Unit of the European Commission explained, these bodies will have to be non-profit entities and legally established according to national law. The goal is to avoid generating a "litigious industry" and make consumers´ rights prevail.
With the new deal for consumers, the European Commission wants to warn companies that selling products with different compositions or qualities under the same presentation, image or packaging without informing consumers of these circumstances is an unfair or misleading practice. This situation induces consumers to think that they are buying the same good and creates an unjustified differentiation of the products in the single market.
Aggressive and misleading sales practices
Commercial practice that misleads consumers is unfair and, therefore, prohibited by European legislation, including unsolicited door-to-door sales and commercial excursions organized by enterprises in order to promote or sell their products. In this way, the new deal for consumers gives Member States the possibility to offer greater protection to the most vulnerable population (for example eldery consumers).
The new agreement will allow to provide more transparent information to consumers when they buy online. Consumer will also know who sells the product or service, or if the seller is a professional or another consumer. This way, it will be easier to know consumers´ rights and it will be clearer to identify where to direct the claims. Likewise, the information on the duration and termination of the contract should also be clearer.
The new package of measures known as "New Deal for Consumers" aims to modernise consumers´ rights adapting them to the new digital environment. At the same time, it offers a greater protection against unfair or misleading practices, especially for the most vulnerable population.