Ecommerce Europe has been invited by the BEUC to be vocal in the political debate on the Common European Sales Law. Ecommerce Europe met the European consumer organization BEUC December and both organizations agreed that a Common European Law (CESL) would lead to more uncertainty in European contractual law.
The political debate on the Common European Sales Law
The sales law aims to create a common non-mandatory law which could be used instead of the current national law. This optional instrument would apply to contracts agreed between companies, or between a company and consumers on the sale of goods and digital content, when at least one of the parties is established within the EU. It harmonises the national contract laws of the Member States not by replacing the pre-existing national contract law, but by creating – next to each Member State’s national law – a second contract law regime that is identical throughout the EU. The proposal divides opinions among the European Member States in the European Council. The Parliament is also separated on the issue.
Ecommerce Europe thinks that the Sales Law – which has already been released in 2011 – is lacking simplicity, legal clarity and the stability of contracts. An optional Sales Law will lead to legal uncertainty when several contract laws are applicable. It will also be too complicated for consumers and merchants to use and provides too few benefits over the existing legal framework. Ecommerce Europe is also afraid that conflicts will emerge between the CESL and the Consumer Rights Directive because it includes the right of pre-contractual information, the right of withdrawal and other issues which are dealt with in the Directive. Ecommerce Europe is afraid that complexity of the material rules and the lack of certainty bring ultimately higher costs to enterprises in terms of legal advice and litigation.