Guarantee law for online trade (Directive)

Online traders avoid offering their goods across borders for reasons of cost; consumers are discouraged from online purchases abroad due to uncertainty about their rights. The EU Commission wants to change this by way of the proposed Directive. With full harmonisation of the law on legal guarantees for online sales of goods, it wants to remove legal uncertainty in crossborder online trade and thereby encourage such trade.


The planned Directive is an initial step towards full harmonisation of consumer protection law – required in order to complete the internal market. It is however limited to broad areas of guarantee law and leaves out other important areas of contract law such as limitation periods. Since the Directive does not create full-harmonisation of the sale of goods law, it is, in cep's view, doubtful whether it will in fact promote online trade. Furthermore, the Directive unjustifiably fragments national law by restricting the scope of the Directive to distance sales and thus distorts competition.