European Commission - Press release
Sale of consumer goods: Commission closes case against Czech Republic
Brussels, 16 June 2011 - The European Commission closed infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic after it improved its rules for consumers wishing to return faulty goods. The Commission had taken legal action against the Czech Republic to ensure that it correctly transposed Directive 99/44/EC on consumer sales and associated guarantees (IP/10/1426), in particular on the right to return defective products within a two-year period. Following the changes to Czech legislation to bring it into line with the EU requirements, the Commission is now closing the case.
The EU law on the sale of consumer goods (Directive 99/44/EC of 25 May 1999) aims to ensure consumer protection and strengthen consumer confidence in cross-border shopping. Under these rules, consumers who bought defective goods may ask sellers to repair or replace them or give a refund within a period of at least two years.
The previous Czech rules provided for much shorter time limits for certain categories of products, including goods that still have to be produced or manufactured, food and goods for which there is a sell-by date. However, the Czech Republic has now notified the Commission of amendments to its legislation so that the two-year period during which rights may be invoked against the seller now applies to all types of consumer products.
At the same time, the Czech Republic maintained provisions which grant additional protection, such as the general rule that consumers do not have to prove during the whole two-year period that the defect already existed at the time when it was delivered.
In addition, the Czech Republic included rules on commercial (or voluntary) guarantees or warranties in its Civil Code as required by the Directive.
In 2009, having established that there were deficiencies in several national laws transposing this Directive, the Commission opened infringement proceedings against nine Member States. Eight of these cases, including the case against the Czech Republic, have now been closed, mostly following legislative changes in the Member States concerned.
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