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EU Commercial News March 2015

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The European Commission announced last week its three main focus points concerning the creation of a digital single market. These are as follows.

Firstly, improved access to digital goods and services for both consumers and businesses with a particular emphasis on the enablement of cross-border e-commerce through harmonised consumer protection and consumer contract rules and improved delivery systems for goods. The Commission also acknowledges the challenge of addressing the issue of “geo-blocking” whereby consumers are prevented from accessing online services available in other EU countries without justification or where consumers are re-directed to a local outlet for the relevant goods or services which often have different prices.

Secondly the EU Commission is set to review the telecoms and media rules with a view to creating an environment that will encourage investment in the latest high technology communications infrastructure across the EU member states in a coherent way. The Commission believes this approach coupled with pan EU spectrum management and further data protection regulation to enhance the protection of individuals as far as the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data is concerned, will assist in promoting trust in online services across the EU through greater transparency.

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News

UK Commercial News March 2015

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The new consumer rights bill received royal ascent on the 26 March 2015 and is anticipated to come into force as the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on 1 October 2015 apart from the legislation on secondary ticketing which is due to come into force on 26 May 2015.

This legislation is designed to: amend certain aspects of existing consumer protection legislation; create investigatory powers for enforcing the regulation of traders and to create provisions about Competition law concerning the right of individuals to raise private actions and about the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The areas of consumer protection covered include amongst others: traders agreements with consumers for the supply of: goods; digital content; services or mixed contracts involving any or all of these three types of agreement.

The second part of the act deals with aspects of the law on unfair terms in consumer contracts. The third part of the act deals with several miscellaneous matters including amongst others: enforcement matters in connection with the regulation of traders; the right of individuals to raise actions for damages under Competition legislation and the duty of letting agents to disclose their fees although this latter obligation is introduced only to England & Wales in this legislation.

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