European Carbuying Laws Shift Power from Automakers
A new batch of legislation in Europe, freshly pressed into law as of June 13, is shifting the power curve between dealerships and carbuyers, and it’s got a lot of people talking. The recently passed Consumer Rights Directive ushers in the first sweeping regulations for European carbuying practices, with the most notable changes including an extension from seven to 14 days during which a buyer can cancel an online order. Conversely, refunds must also be issued within 14 days of the returned goods. But upcoming legislation in the UK sets to push those consumer rights even further as well. The proposed Consumer Rights Bill will grant consumers a 30-day window to reject a vehicle without requiring an initial under-warranty repair first. Additionally, the law would permit owners to reject a car up to six months after purchase even after one failed repair. RELATED: See photos of the notoriously hit-or-miss Pontiac Aztek
The bill would mark a huge win for consumer advocates, protecting UK buyers from potentially wallet-emptying lemons, but it forces car companies to lose a significant competitive edge in the market.
Developing advanced and complex machinery takes a substantial amount of investment, and doesn’t always yield the perfect result initially. Even the most thorough laboratory and road testing doesn’t equate to real-world, everyday use. This could force automakers to scale-back the introduction of new and potentially more efficient technology for fear that initial issues and hiccups could result in mass rejections and crashing sales.
It’s unlikely that this legislation would find its way onto North American shores as an adaptation to existing Lemon Laws, but the world will be watching to gauge its reception abroad.
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