Bill on implementation of directives on sale of goods and delivery of digital content

On 18 February 2021, the Bill on Implementation of Directives on Sale of Goods and Provision of Digital Content (the "Bill") was submitted to the Dutch House of Representatives. The Bill regulates the implementation of (i) Directive (EU) 2019/771 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2019 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods, amending Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 and Directive 2009/22/EC, and repealing Directive 1999/44/EC (the "Sale of Goods Directive") and (ii) Directive (EU) 2019/770 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2019 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services (the "Digital Content Delivery Directive" and jointly with the Sale of Goods Directive: the "Directives") which will lead to an amendment of Book 7 of the Civil Code.

The Directives entered into force on 11 June 2019 and must be transposed into national law by 1 July 2021.

The Directives are part of the body of European Directives in the field of consumer protection. The aim of the Directives is to give consumers more certainty about their rights in case of cross-border purchases and to provide businesses with a clear contractual framework. The Directives provide mandatory rules, which means that the trader and seller cannot deviate from them to the detriment of the consumer (purchaser).

Directive on Delivery of Digital Content
The Digital Content Directive fills a legal gap and establishes common rules on certain regulations applicable to contracts between traders and consumers for the supply of digital content or digital services. Almost all of the provisions of the Digital Content Directive apply to the supply of digital content or a digital service performed as from 1 January 2022, regardless of whether the contracts are or were concluded as from or before that date. A significant change for the practice of traders is the introduction of an obligation on traders to provide updates. In addition to the right to updates, the most important change is that the duration of the reversal of the trader's burden of proof has been extended from six months to one year.

Sale of Goods Directive
The Sale of Goods Directive relates to consumer sales and replaces the old Consumer Sales Directive from 1999. It applies to sales contracts concluded as from 1 January 2022. The Sale of Goods Directive lays down common rules on, in particular, the conformity of goods, warranties and remedies and how they can be exercised. The starting point of the Sale of Goods Directive is maximum harmonisation. The Sale of Goods Directive covers sales contracts where tangible goods (e.g. books and clothes) are supplied to the consumer against payment of a consideration in cash. The contract may also include goods which are still to be manufactured or produced (e.g. the production of a picture book or a mug printed for consumers). Also goods which are still to be assembled are covered by the concept of goods in the Sale of Goods Directive. The Sale of Goods Directive also applies when digital content or digital services are incorporated into certain devices and supplied together with them (e.g. a smartphone or smart TV).