The Directive on Consumer Rights was transposed in France 17 March 2014. This law has not only transposed the Directive, but also brings different French rules into conformity with ECJ cases, especially on unfair commercial practices or unfair terms. Furthermore, for the first time this law introduced a class action for the benefit of consumers.
Before entering into details of the implementation of this Directive, it is important to understand the general structure of the French sales law, and especially the law that applies to contracts concluded between businesses and consumers. There are three principal levels of rules. From the more specific to the more general, the first level of rules is specific to consumer sales, located in the Consumer Code. Before the implementation of the Directive, these rules already dealt with the duty to inform, delay in performance, and the conformity guarantee. General rules on sales contracts, located in the Civil Code, also apply as a second level of rules, dealing with the determination of price, the transfer of ownership, the delivery, the guarantee on hidden defects and the warranty of quiet possession. General contract law applying to consumer sales when no specific rule exists composes the third and last level of rules.
Mainly focused on the implementation of the Directive 2011/83/EU (section 1), this report also proposes some remarks on the links between national and European rules on consumer sales (section 2).
IMPLEMENTATION OF DIRECTIVE 2011/83/EU
METHOD OF IMPLEMENTATION
The Consumer Rights Directive was implemented in the Consumer Code, created in 1993, which concentrates all the rules related to consumers rights. These rules deal with contracts concluded between businesses and consumers, but also with more general questions on consumer rights such as security of products, liabilities, origin labelling, product fraud, insolvency of citizens, or rights of consumers’ associations.
The first Directives on distance and off-premises contracts have already been implemented in this Code. All the Directives on consumer contracts are part of this Code, except the Directive on product liability that has been implemented in the Civil Code.