Relevant developments in the field of consumer and user protection
Relevant developments in consumer and user protection.
On 28 April 2021, Royal Decree 7/2021 of 27 April was published in the Official State Gazette (BOE), transposing ten European Union directives that were pending incorporation into Spanish law. Directives on matters such as competition, prevention of money laundering, credit institutions, telecommunications, tax measures, prevention and repair of environmental damage, posting of workers in the provision of transnational services and consumer protection.
Focusing on the amendments concerning the defence of consumers and users, two directives are transposed: Directive (EU) 2019/770 or the Digital Services Directive, and Directive (EU) 2019/771 or the Sale of Goods Directive. Title VIII of Royal Decree-Law 7/2021 of 27 April contains a series of amendments to Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007 of 16 November, approving the revised text of the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users and other complementary laws.
With the entry into force of the new regulations on 01 January 2022, interesting new features are introduced for consumers and users with regard to guarantees and after-sales services. In an exercise of synthesis, we consider it appropriate to highlight the following:
COMMERCIAL GUARANTEES AND AFTER-SALES SERVICES
One of the strong points, in terms of the new features introduced by this regulation, is the extension of the mandatory warranty period for products purchased from 1 January 2022. This legal guarantee was until now two years, thus complying with the minimum required by the European Union.
From this date, the warranty period will be three years for any type of product. This period is also established in other European countries such as Sweden and Portugal.
The term will be two years for the supply of digital content or services, as the joint transposition of the EU Directive 2019/770 on digital services extends the application of consumer rights to these contracts as well, including here computer programs, digital video game files, e-books etc.
With regard to second-hand goods, the trader and the consumer may agree on a period that may not be less than one year from the delivery of the goods. The aim of this regulation is to extend the mandatory warranty periods, and thus the possibility of repairing products to increase their useful life, contributing to the sustainability of consumer goods in the form of durability.
Another of the most important new regulations, which came into force last January by Royal Decree 7/2021 of 27 April, is that, until now, manufacturers were obliged to have spare parts available as soon as the product ceased to be manufactured and for a period of 5 years.
From now on, this obligation is extended to 10 years from the date on which the product ceases to be manufactured. This means that the manufacturer must guarantee the availability of spare parts as well as an adequate service during this period.
This is intended to increase repairability and thus combat so-called planned obsolescence.
EXERCISE OF RIGHTS BY THE CONSUMER/USER AND LIABILITY OF THE ENTREPRENEUR.
The period for the consumer to express lack of conformity is increased to three years, and, unless proven otherwise, it will be presumed that lack of conformity that is expressed by consumers within two years of delivery of the good, or within the following year in the case of a digital service, already existed at the time of delivery of the good or supply of the service.
The entrepreneur or the manufacturer shall have the burden of proof to prove the contrary, i.e. the conformity of the product or service. The limitation period for bringing this action in respect of lack of conformity has been increased, and will now be five years and not three, as it has been until now, from the time when the lack of conformity becomes apparent.
Furthermore, when due to the lack of conformity with the product, the entrepreneur is not liable to the consumer, the latter will be able to claim directly against the producer, thus complying with the same guarantees of conformity. This extension of the minimum time periods provided for in the regulation extends the rights of consumers and users, reinforcing their position and the need for the entrepreneur and the manufacturer to supply goods with quality, safety and durability.
At AddVANTE, we will keep a close eye on all regulatory developments to keep our customers informed; we have a team with extensive professional experience at your disposal for any queries and advice on any legal matter.