Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 September 2018
On 9 December 2015, the Commission adopted the so-called Digital Contract Proposals. Both the Digital Content Directive (DCD) Proposal and the Online and Distance Sales of Goods (ODSG) Proposal contain an article that provides the seller/supplier with a right of redress in case of an act or omission by previous parties in the chain of transactions which triggered the seller/supplier‘s liability for the legal guarantee towards the consumer. Both provisions state that the modalities for exercising this right are to be regulated by the national laws of the Member States. Both Article 17 DCD Proposal and Article 16 ODSG Proposal are clearly inspired by Article 4 of the Consumer Sales Directive 1999/44/EC (CSD), which provides that the seller who is held liable towards a consumer for a lack of conformity shall be entitled to pursue remedies against previous sellers in the contractual chain or against the producer (redress along the contractual chain).
In this chapter, we will first give an overview of the genesis of Article 4 CSD and the original plans to introduce direct producer‘s liability. This will prove relevant in understanding the basic approach of Article 17 DCD Proposal and Article 16 ODSG Proposal (redress along the contractual chain). Subsequently, we will give a quick overview of the implementation of Article 4 CSD in Belgium with a view to the forthcoming implementation of Article 17 DCD Proposal and Article 16 ODSG Proposal. Aft er that, we will analyse the case for introducing direct producers‘liability at the EU level. Finally, we will draw some conclusions.
GENESIS OF ARTICLE 4 CSD
As mentioned, Article 17 DCD Proposal and Article 16 ODSG are clearly inspired by Article 4 CSD. Before discussing the basic approach of Article 17 DCD Proposal and Article 16 ODSG Proposal, it might therefore be relevant to recall the genesis of Article 4 CSD and to explain that ultimately no direct producer‘s liability for the legal guarantee was established at the EU level.
GREEN PAPER ON GUARANTEES FOR CONSUMER GOODS AND AFTER-SALES SERVICES
On 15 November 1993, the Commission presented its Green Paper on guarantees for consumer goods and aft er-sales services.