On 23rd June 2011, after more than two years of work, the European Parliament finally adopted the Directive on Consumer Rights. This text will soon be officially adopted by the Council of the European Union as the formal last step in the process.

This Directive provides a new set of rules for protecting the consumer when concluding a contract. The consumer will now have 14 days to withdraw from a distance contract by notifying the trader, and then will have an additional 14 days to send back the product. The trader will have 14 days to reimburse the trader starting from the date of notification. For a contract that is concluded by phone, it will be up to individual European Union Member States to decide whether the consumer would only be committed when he has signed the offer.

It will be important for companies trading directly with consumers either online or offline to be fully aware of the implications of this new directive as it will have an impact on their business.