Important changes in consumer law: ECJ ruling on the right of withdrawal
Reminder to all: last Saturday I published a significant article (link: here) that aroused the interest of many and generated numerous queries. The topic has sparked plenty of discussion even among peers. The key issue is a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding consumer revocation and the correct design of revocation instructions in contracts.
The basic legal question about the right of withdrawal is anything but new; it is a constant companion in the legal discussion surrounding consumer law. However, the fact that makes the ECJ’s ruling so special, and which has surprised many, is the decision that even after completion of the full work, even if significant material costs have been incurred by the service provider, no value replacement is owed in the event of withdrawal by the consumer.
I would like to expressly emphasize and re-emphasize this issue because I am firmly convinced that only a minority of service providers, craftsmen, but also freelancers who offer their services to consumers via the Internet have contracts that meet the requirements of this ruling. This mismatch exists despite the significant legal and financial risks arising from this situation. It is of the utmost urgency that we all become aware of this issue and take the necessary steps to comply with the legal requirements.
Costly consequences: Without correct revocation instructions, you are stuck with the costs
This ruling is particularly relevant for craftsmen, service providers and other suppliers who provide services or craft activities to consumers. In this landmark ruling, the ECJ made it clear that suppliers who do not include proper cancellation instructions in their contracts must pay for all costs, including materials used, if the consumer cancels the contract after the work has been completed.
In practice, this means that you, as the provider, could be completely stuck with the cost of installing a kitchen, electrical system, wallpapering, gardening and everything else. This goes far beyond just labor costs and includes the cost of materials that are already used and potentially not reusable. The implications of this ruling are profound and change the way we need to think about treaties and the obligations they imply. The potential financial damage here can be enormous and should not be underestimated. Therefore, it is essential to understand and respond appropriately to this judgment and its implications. It is now time to take the necessary steps to adapt the contracts to these new conditions and thus avoid serious financial consequences.
Risk management for craftsmen and service providers: Check your contracts
Therefore, my urgent appeal to you is to check your contracts and make sure that proper revocation instructions are in place. This step is not only recommended, but essential in view of the possible consequences. It’s not just about legal compliance, but more importantly, protecting your business from potentially devastating financial burdens.
If you are unsure, have samples prepared or consult legal counsel. Drafting correct and legally compliant contracts can be complex, and professional advice can be invaluable. A knowledgeable advisor can guide you through the process and help you draft your contracts to meet legal requirements and best protect your interests.
It is better to be cautious and manage the risk now than to face significant costs later. The time and resources you invest now in reviewing and adjusting your contracts are time well spent, considering the possible alternatives. This decision can make the difference between your company or your craft business coming out of this legal situation unscathed or suffering serious financial losses.
Remember, prevention is better than cure. Act proactively to protect your business. You now have the information and the opportunity to use this situation to your advantage. Use them wisely.