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New Directive on Sales Contracts for Digital Content and Goods

New Directive on Sales Contracts for Digital Content and Goods
  • United Kingdom
  • Technology, Media and Telecoms - General



On 15th April 2019 the Council of the European Union adopted two new directives on Sale Contracts for Goods and Digital Content. One directive relates to the supply of digital content and services (“Digital Content Directive”) and the other to the sale of goods (“Sale of Goods Directive”).

Member states have two years to transpose these new directives into their national law.

Digital Content Directive

The Digital Content Directive applies to the supply of digital content, including:

• data produced and supplied in digital form (e.g. music, online video etc.)

• services allowing for the creation, processing or storage of data in digital form (e.g. cloud storage);

• services allowing for the sharing of data (e.g. facebook, youtube etc.); and

• any durable medium used exclusively as a carrier of digital content (e.g. DVDs)

This directive provides consumers with a higher level of protection when paying for a service or for providing data in exchange for such a service. For example: where it is not possible to fix defects within a reasonable period, the consumer is entitled to either a price reduction or full reimbursement; and the consumer cannot be provided with a guarantee period of less than two years.

Sale of Goods Directive

The Sale of Goods Directive applies to all goods, including those with a digital element, for example, a smart fridge or intelligent watch. This applies whether goods are bought in shops, online or any other distance sale.

As with the Digital Content Directive, consumers are entitled to a two year minimum guarantee period from the time the consumer receives the goods. This directive also introduces a one year period for the reversed burden of proof in favour of the consumer. If countries wish to do so, they can go beyond these limits in order to maintain their current level of consumer protection.