New consumer rules in 2022: an overview

Last updated on 06-12-22.

European rules protect your consumer rights and provide legal certainty. These harmonized rules in EU member states ensure that you enjoy the same basic protection wherever you buy.

In 2022 European legislators updated a number of rules that protect the rights of the consumer. Below is an overview of the most important updates in 2022.

Legal warranty

The new Consumer Sales Directive resulted in new warranty rules in Belgium. Your rights will vary depending on the date on which you made your purchase.

Specific regulations covering digital content and services

A European directive regulating your rights when purchasing digital content (e.g. games and applications) and digital services (e.g. cloud storage or streaming) has been in place since 1 June 2022. 

Your rights are as follows if:

Better protection against unfair practices

European legislation banning misleading and aggressive sales practices has been in place for several years. Member states wanted to help consumers defend themselves even better against such practices. This resulted in new measures that took effect on 28 May 2022. Please find below the most important ones:

Greater transparency in online marketplaces 

These European rules reinforce the rights of digital consumers and require online platforms (e.g., Amazon, eBay) to inform you prior to the conclusion of a purchase agreement about:

  • the parameters used that determine the order in which third-party vendors’ listings appear,
  • the identity of the third-party seller based on the statement the platform received from them. Is it a trader or a private individual?
  • The fact that you are not protected by European consumer law if you buy from a private seller, i.e. a private person.

Do you want to know more about the role of an online platform which you are entering into a contract with and how to avoid scams? If so, please refer to ‘Buying from an Online Platform'.

Correct announcement of price reduction

Did you spot a bargain? From now on, the reference price will provide more clarity about your actual benefit.

Has a good or service been reduced in price? The seller must indicate both the price to be paid and the reference price, i.e. the lowest price over the past 30 days.

Protection in the event of 'free' digital content and services

Digital content and services are sometimes free of charge, but remember if that’s the case you are paying with personal data rather than in monetary terms. Consider social media, for example.

Thanks to European Directive 2019/770, you also have a right of withdrawal from "free" online content and services. Similar to the purchase of ‘standard products and services’, the supplier of this content or service must provide clear information about:

  • the duration of the service
  • how to unsubscribe
  • the 14 day cooling-off period
  • the deletion of your personal data.

Warranty rules also apply to "free" online content and services.

ECC at your service

Having read the information about your rights and tips when buying online, do you have further questions? If so, feel free to contact our legal team, who will be happy to help. Free of charge.