On 20 May 2019, the European Union adopted two new directives on sales contracts for goods and digital content. The objective of these new directives is to further harmonise the different national consumer laws and make it easier and safer for consumers and traders to buy and sell inside the Member States' borders. In doing so, the new rules intend to reduce the costs supported by businesses stemming from the differences in consumer laws through the European Union. Directive (EU) 2019/770 is dedicated to the supply of digital content and services (online movies, games, music, e-books, cloud storage, communication services, software, etc.), including when sold on a medium (Blurays, DVDs, etc.), whereas Directive (EU) 2019/771 governs the sale of goods (online or in shops), including goods embedded with digital components (smart watches, smart TVs, smart fridges, etc.).

Both directives provide in particular for (i) conformity requirements (e.g. quality, interoperability, updates, accessories, fit for purposes, etc.), (ii) remedies for lack of conformity (e.g. repair, replacement, price reduction, full reimbursement etc.), (iii) a 2-year guarantee ensuring traders' liability for defects, and (iv) rules regarding the burden of proof.

Directive (EU) 2019/770 will apply to the supply of digital content and services even where the counter-performance is not money but personal data. In that respect, the scope of this directive specifies that it applies without prejudice to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data.

Member States will have to transpose the provisions of both directives into their national laws by 1 July 2021 and effectively apply such provisions from 1 January 2022.

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