MEPs back draft law which aims to harmonise protection of online and in-store purchases
With more and more of us buying goods online, MEPs have approved plans for a single set of rules - to help consumers get the same level of protection as in-store purchases.
The draft law aims to bring a level playing field when it comes to getting help when a product goes wrong.
It could be a washing machine from a store, or a computer bought off the net.
"We avoided the worst because now the big news is that online shopping will be able to enjoy the same protection, the same guarantee as in-store purchases," Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella told Euronews.
"It was one of the big brakes on the development of e-commerce in Europe. Today, it's solved, the same warranty period, the same possibilities of being reimbursed, to replace or repair defective equipment."
But the length of guarantees is an issue raising eyebrows. The draft law allow for the freezing of national rules, meaning there won't be a push to extend warranty periods.
"We have a legal guarantee that is theoretically two years. In practice, it's six months actually because the presumption of lack of conformity is only during the first six months," explained Julie Frere, from the 'Test-Achats' Belgian consumer protection organisation.
"In the case of Belgium, if this maximum harmonisation directive is adopted, it will no longer be able to provide longer legal guarantee periods. For example, you might think that for a washing machine, there could be a guarantee which would be of minimum five years and not two years."