On the 1st December 2015, the European Parliament created Directive No 2015/367 (fictitious) requiring Member States to adopt “adequate steps in order to improve consumers’ effective protection”. Art. 1 states that “Member States have the obligation to improve the protection of the consumer, broadening their right of withdrawal, within distance contracts, off-premises contracts and on-premises contracts”.
The deadline for the transposition of this directive into the national legal systems of EU member states was the 1st December 2017. In order to implement this directive, the UK passed a new statutory instrument, SI 80/2017 (fictitious), entitled “additional safeguards protecting consumers in distance contracts”. Within this SI, it is foreseen that “where the consumer is not informed about the right to withdraw, the withdrawal period is 6 months from the day the trader has fully performed the contract”. Furthermore, according to section 2 of the statutory provision, if a consumer withdraws, “the trader must refrain? from withholding the reimbursement until receiving the goods or getting evidence from the consumer of having sent the goods back”. In other words, the reimbursement must be immediately fulfilled in the sole basis of the withdrawal itself.
Chanel bought a new laptop on-line, on the 10th November 2017: she wanted the pink version which was apparently out of stock when she purchased the laptop, so she decided to opt for the purple one. After several months, Chanel discovers that the pink version of the same model is now available on-line: she now wants to replace the purple item she got six months ago, with the pink laptop.
Chanel is a law student. She recently attended several classes on consumer protection and she remembers that the UK has recently passed a statutory provision enhancing consumers’ rights. After reading the SI, Chanel thinks she might be entitled to withdraw from the contract for the laptop: she hadn’t received any information regarding her rights of withdrawal, so she wants to rely on the 6 months withdrawal period. Hence, on the 15th May 2018, Chanel completes the withdrawal procedure. On the same day, Chanel buys a pink printer at one of the “EasyPC” shops: she thinks the printer will fit perfectly with the pink laptop she is planning to buy once the withdrawal regarding the purple laptop will be completed.
A week after, she is however contacted by the seller “EasyPC” notifying her that the right of withdrawal expired on the 10th May 2018, six months after the full-performance of the contract.
Chanel is now very annoyed: first, she has been told that she can’t withdraw from the contract. Secondly, the pink printer is of no use for her now. Chanel goes to the “EasyPC” shop in Luton to see whether she can at least replace the pink printer with a purple one, so to have at least both laptop and printer of the same colour. This time again, however, Chanel is told that her right of withdrawal is already expired: according to the SI No 40/1999 (fictitious), on-premises contracts can be withdrawn within 48 hours from the purchase.
Chanel is now extremely disappointed: she thinks that the UK is not helping consumers at all and she wants to challenge the two Statutory Instruments which prevent her from withdrawing from the laptop purchase (distance contract) and from the printer purchase (on-premise contract).
Acknowledging the existence of a European directive in this field, Chanel asks you to advise her as to what rights she might have under EU Law and whether she can rely on any provision of EU law to bring an action before a UK court or tribunal.
Against the backdrop provided under Part A, map the existing legal provisions of EU law which currently protecting “consumers”. Also specify whether (and to what extent) the UK is bound to the EU standards.