In mid-June, new European consumer protection rules will come into force that give consumers more rights. These new rules have implications for most businesses in the Netherlands that offer products or services to consumers. Businesses have until mid-June to adjust their operations to these new rules such as the information on their websites, contracts they offer, and other operational aspects. These new rules apply to a large number of situations where sales are involved: in shops, in the streets, door-to-door, and over the internet. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will enforce compliance with these new rules.
To help businesses prepare for these new rules, ACM has published information on its website. “It is important that businesses prepare themselves on time, and adjust their operations accordingly. Consumers must be able to be confident that the new rules will be respected by businesses once they come into force,” Anita Vegter, Member of the Board of ACM, adds.
What will change?
When the new rules come into force, the following, for example, will change:
- the grace period for online purchases, and contracts concluded through door-to-door selling is increased from seven working days to fourteen working days;
- in case of street vending, for which no grace period currently exists, a grace period of fourteen days is introduced;
- when businesses fail to inform their customers correctly or fail to do so at all, the grace period will be extended to twelve months at the most;
- the tariff for calling premium-rate numbers (090x-numbers in the Netherlands) will be limited to a maximum (which is EUR 1 per call in addition to local call rates);
- contracts concluded by telephone for services (such as telephony or energy) will only come into force if these contracts have been signed by the consumer.
An overview of all of the new rules can be found on ACM’s website (in Dutch).
Oversight by ACM
The new consumer protection rules come into force on 13 June 2014. On that day, ACM’s oversight on and its enforcement of compliance with these rules will start as well. Around that date, ACM will actively point out to consumers through the website of ConsuWijzer the additional rights that these new rules will offer them.