You really have got to wonder about the brainpower, or lack of it, of some people sitting at the EU round table. This week saw the implementation of the snappily named European Consumer Rights Directive. This is a new directive, part of the thousands of new ones created each year, that is designed to give consumers more protection. On the face of it, it looks like it does.

Seven To Fourteen

One of the main pillars of the new directive is that consumers will now have 14 days cooling off rather than the previous 7 days. At first glance, this looks like a big tick in the box for the consumer. However, there remains a little talked about, but massively important loophole that you can guarantee will be exploited.

This loophole is that bespoke items bought on the doorstep, anything that can be classed as made to measure, won’t be allowed to be cancelled at all. That means if National Window Company knocks at Mrs Bloggs’ door and manages to sell her a house full of windows and doors, she then won’t be able to ring the company up to cancel if she gets cold feet. If you ask me, this is going to be disastrous.

Abuse Of The Loophole

You’ll know that I’m definitely not an advocate of door knocking or any doorstep tactics. I think it’s very old hat and a sign of the nasty industry of old. But this new EU directive has just given the companies that use these sorts of tactics a massive boost.

We all know that a degree of door knockers will always pray on the vulnerable and the elderly. Those who are perhaps lonely and will likely trust a stranger who comes knocking on their door. It is those that are most at risk from this new loophole. And it is this which is going to challenge the hard work the better companies in our industry have been doing to repair the damage done by rogue companies.

There is another worry with this loop hole and that is the definition of the term “made to measure”. This loophole relies on this term as only products that are made to measure are exempt from any cooling off period. Are companies going to be making the most of this wording? Probably. Will companies try and class more products as made to measure in order to secure orders and put even more pressure on home owners? Probably.

This new directive leaves a lot of room for abuse, especially with this loophole. What I can’t understand is why this scenario wasn’t thought about within the EU before it came to pass. Surely the idea of abuse of this loophole should have been discussed? If it wasn’t, then that would indicate that it has been missed, which is even more worrying.

Yet more EU meddling which works against us rather than for us.

PS: this is the link to the report on this law: take a look at some of the comments on that thread as well. Some interesting ones.