New Rules on Consumer Sales

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New Rules on Consumer Sales

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Title: New Rules on Consumer Sales
An empirical study
Author: Møgelvang-Hansen, Peter; Lando, Henrik; Kristensen, Bo; Schützsack, Ole
Abstract: The project described in this report was carried out with support from The Ministry of Justice’s Research Pool. The aim of the project is to examine the effects of Amending Act no. 213/2002, amending the rules on consumer sales in the Danish Sale of Goods Act. The amendments were part of Denmark’s implementation of Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees. The Amending Act came into force on 24 April 2002, having effect on consumer sales made on and after 1 January 2002. At the time of completion of this report, the Amending Act had been in force for more than two and a half years. In the planning of this project, we assumed that at this point in time sufficient experience with the new rules would be available, enabling us to get an impression of its practical consequences for businesses. Also, we assumed that the respondents could still recall the prior state of the law, making it possible for us to gather sufficient information to compare the situation before and after the Amending Act entered into force. The Amending Act involved a number of amendments to the Danish Sale of Goods Act. Certain amendments, such as those concerning the rules on lack of conformity, were mainly clarifications of the current state of the law. As these in fact did not change the state of the law, they were not intended to change practice either. As this study is empirically oriented, these amendments fall outside its scope. Consequently, in this study we have chosen to focus on the consequences of the following amendments: Under the new provisions in s. 77a(3), any lack of conformity with the contract is assumed to have existed at the time of delivery if such lack of conformity becomes apparent within six months of the time of delivery. Where there is a lack of conformity, the consumer in general has a right to choose between replacement and repair under s. 78. Replacement is no longer contingent on the lack of conformity constituting a fundamental breach. Furthermore, it is no longer possible for the seller to decline a request for replacement by offering to repair. If the consumer’s request for replacement or repair would impose disproportionate costs on the seller, or if this remedy is impossible, the seller can, however, decline the request. In s. 83, the limitation period for complaints has been extended from one to two years from the time of delivery to the consumer. In s. 54, the corresponding limitation period on other sales than consumer sales has been extended from one to two years to avoid sellers in the retail trade from being caught in between their consumers and their suppliers. As before, s. 83 cannot be derogated from to the detriment of the consumer. It is, however, still possible for the parties to derogate from s. 54 concerning other sales than consumer sales. The fundamental question of this study is whether the mentioned alteration to the state of the law has resulted in a notable change in the behaviour of the relevant players. Of the relevant players, our principal focus is the retail trade, whose situation we have examined by way of a questionnaire survey. To a limited extent we have also looked into any changes in the behaviour of wholesalers/producers, mainly by way of interviews with trade organisations. Finally, we have examined the application of the new rules, mainly by looking at the Danish Consumer Complaints Board.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/7386
Date: 2006-11-22

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