The report expressed concerns about the Commission’s plans for the full harmonisation of consumer rights across Europe. The Lords EU Committee pointed out that full harmonisation risked a reduction in some rights currently enjoyed by UK consumers.
The Committee highlighted the potential loss of the UK Consumers’ “right to reject”, whereby they currently have the right to reject faulty goods outright and choose between a refund and a replacement. Under Article 26 of the European Commission’s proposals, the choice of remedy would rest with the trader and there would be no automatic right to a refund in the first instance.
The Committee also expressed doubts about the robustness of the Commission’s Impact Assessment and recommended that the Government should withhold agreement from the proposal as drafted, and that further progress on the Directive should await a more complete Impact Assessment.
The debate on the report is expected to start at 10am on Friday 23 October in the House of Lords.
Commenting ahead of the debate Baroness Howarth, who chaired the Lords Committee that produced the report, said:
"The Committee had serious concerns that the approach taken to harmonisation proposed by the European Commission would see UK consumers’ rights adversely affected, without clear benefits to business. A differentiated approach to harmonisation would be more appropriate for this Directive as it would allow Member States some flexibility in how consumers are protected. We firmly believe that business will benefit from legislation which genuinely has the consumer at its heart.
"The debate in the House of Lords will give Members of the House the chance to raise the issues highlighted in our report and to question the Government about what steps it is taking to ensure the Commission’s proposals are improved before they come into force."
The debate on the EU Consumer Rights Directive report is one of two debates in the House of Lords on European Union Committee reports on Friday 23 October. The other debate, which will follow this one, is on a recent report on the European Commission’s First Rail Freight Package.