Digital contracts: new EU rules on digital content and the sale of goods, from 1 January 2022

The first day of the current year also saw the introduction of new EU rules on digital content and the sale of goods . This will make it easier for consumers and businesses to buy and sell digital content, services and digital goods in and around the European Union.

Credit: EU // Claudio Centonze

2022 starts on a very positive note for EU consumers and businesses. In the event of problems or defects in digital content, digital services or smart products, EU consumers will now have the same rights as any other good, regardless of where in the EU they bought their goods and services. Our harmonized rules strengthen consumer rights and, moreover, will encourage companies to sell their goods and services across the EU, providing legal certainty, which will help consumers in millions of daily transactions. I call on those Member States that have not yet transposed the new rules to do so without delay“, Said Didier Reynders , the European Commission’s Commissioner for Justice.

Under the new rules on digital contracts, consumers will be protected when digital content (for example, downloaded music or software) and digital services are defective. They will have the legal right to a solution, for example, a price reduction or termination of the contract and a refund of the amount paid.


The Goods Directive will provide consumers with the same level of protection across the EU – both when shopping online and when shopping in a store – and will cover all goods, including digital goods (for example, a refrigerator). intelligent). The new rules maintain the minimum warranty period of two years from the date on which the consumer receives the good and provide for a period of one year for the reversal of the burden of proof in favor of the consumer. In practice, this means that in the first year, it will be the seller’s duty to prove that the good has not been defective from the beginning.

Most Member States have fully transposed both the Digital Content Directive and the Goods Sale Directive. The Commission will closely monitor transposition in the other Member States. In fact, several infringement proceedings are already under way against Member States that have not yet communicated their transposition measures. More information is available on the digital contract rules pages and in the fact sheet .