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Here's this month's top 5 commercial law developments taken from our February LexisPSL Commercial monthly round-up.
In a development that will be of interest to those advising consumers on their rights under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, a court has held in the case of Gillian Mal’ouf v MBNA Europe Bank Limited (trading as Abbey Cards) that consumers who bought a misrepresented item on their credit card may be able to claim from the point when they notice the fault, not from the date they made the purchase. The case has thrown new light on the credit law and consumer rights.
MEPs have backed the Common European Sales Law (CESL) at its first reading in a plenary session of the European Parliament. The CESL introduces a uniform set of EU-wide rules for cross-border sales, to be applied on a voluntary basis. The aim is to boost business in the internal market by overcoming trade barriers resulting from differences in national contract law. The proposed CESL would co-exist side by side with national laws and apply only if both the seller and the buyer voluntarily agreed to it.
Members of European Parliament (MEPs) propose to restrict the scope of the new law only to distance selling, as they believe it would be particularly beneficial to internet shopping.
The new sales law would enable firms to offer products in a number of Member States under the same contract rules. This would help businesses enter new markets without having to pay the extra costs incurred by having to adapt to different rules in different Member States.
For consumers this could mean a wider range of products available at lower prices. If a product brought online from a different country under the European sales law proves to be faulty, a range of remedies would be available, such as termination of the contract, replacement or repair of the product, or a price reduction. To better balance the rights of buyers and sellers, MEPs inserted a rule under which consumers would have to notify the seller within two months after having noticed a fault in the product.
This vote constitutes the European Parliament’s first reading position. Under the co-decision procedure, the Council of Ministers may accept the Parliament’s position or adopt its own position, for further discussion with Parliament
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