Although under existing UK law, advertisements will only in exceptional circumstances classify as a contractual offer, their content can still affect the responsibilities of the retailer to the consumer.
Topic: Consumer Protection
New development: Council Directive 99/44/EC covering aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees.
Although under existing UK law, advertisements will only in exceptional circumstances classify as a contractual offer, their content can still affect the responsibilities of the retailer to the consumer. For instance, any statement an advertisement makes about a product could have the status of either a term of a subsequent sale contract or a representation which, if false could provide the consumer with remedies under the Misrepresentation Act.
What will change: At the core of this new Directive, is a statutory minimum 2 year guarantee that goods sold will be in conformity with the sales contract, wherever in the EU they are sold. The guarantee is to be enforceable against the retailer, not the manufacturer and what is said about the product in advertising, either by the retailer or the manufacturer, will be taken into account in assessing the quality and performance which the consumer may reasonably expect the product to have. In this way the onus will be placed even more squarely on the advertiser than before, to ensure that all claims made for the product in marketing material are accurate.
Timetable: All EU states are due to implement the Directive by 1 January 2002
What happens next: The UK Government will publish a consultation paper, with or without some suggested Regulations, within the next few months.