The House of Lords has thrown out the European Commission?s proposed rules governing consumer guarantees, a directive that industry groups claim could have increased the price of home PCs in the UK by 50 per cent.
The Personal Computer Association (PCA) had warned of the likely price hikes that would results from the proposed directive, which would impose a minimum guarantee period of two years on goods purchased in the EC. It would also offer consumers the option of four remedies from the vendor in the event of product failure.
Consumers would also face increased costs on goods they buy over the Internet to foot the bill for higher levels of guarantees, claimed the PCA.
The Association's executive director, Keith Warburton, believes the UK terms of sale for consumer IT purchases are adequate. Standards should be harmonised across the EU, but should not go as far as these proposals, he believes. ?In the UK goods need to be fit for purpose, but if you bought a really cheap joystick or mouse and after a while it fell apart, you wouldn?t be surprised. Under the proposals, the vendor would have to offer a two-year guarantee,? explained Warburton.
The directive calls for consumers to be offered four remedies: to have the goods repaired or replaced, to have the price reduced, or to set the contract aside and refund the price.
A House of Lords statement said: ?The committee believes that improving a consumer?s ability to obtain speedy and effective redress is probably more important than harmonising terms and conditions of sale.?
The Commission is now carrying out a full cost-impact analysis of the directive and the results are due in the autumn.
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