Trade bodies seeking to influence the proposed European Commission (EC) directive on consumer warranties will be giving the last of their oral evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee today.
PC prices could increase by as much as 50 per cent, say industry analysts, if the proposal is implemented unamended.
The EC is proposing that warranties on all consumer goods be extended and the burden of proof reversed. If the proposed directive becomes law, anyone who buys a PC will able to claim a full refund up to a year later if they consider that the machine has developed a fault. And it will be up to the vendor to prove the PC is not faulty.
Trade bodies, such as the Personal Computer Association (PCA), are among those giving evidence. They want the proposal amended because of its disastrous implications for the PC industry.
?Our members get a high percentage of complaints which are down to user ignorance or dishonesty, not because equipment is faulty,? said Keith Warburton, executive director of the PCA. ?We believe that because of the huge price differences over a year in the PC industry, complaints would increase considerably if this proposal becomes law unamended.?
After hearing the evidence, the Select Committee will publish a report, probably in mid-March. Parliamentary sources expect it will recommend that the issue be debated in the Commons. Once debated, it is then up to ministers to argue the UK?s position with Brussels.
The EC has already tendered for consultants to research further into the commercial impact of the proposed directive.
Industry and parliamentary sources estimate it will be well into next year before a full EC directive on consumer warranties is issued. EU member states then have a further two years to enforce the directive.
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