Contractual liability for defective Internet of Things (IoT) products - What can the UK learn from the EU approach?

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Abstract

The popularity of products linked to the Internet of Things (‘IoT’) increases each year. As demand for IoT products grows, so too has the need for a workable legal framework that provides adequate redress to consumers when IoT products fail to conform to contract. This articlemconsiders the contractual rights and remedies of consumers who purchase defective IoT products, contrasting UK law, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, with two new EU directives, the Digital Content Directive and the Sale of Goods Directive. This article reviews the background to both the UK and EU legal frameworks and then compares the differing systems, considering which provides a clearer, more comprehensive and effective framework of rights and remedies for consumers of IoT products. Such a comparison has not been undertaken since the Directives were finalised and is particularly relevant given Brexit and the potential for divergence between the two legal systems. This article argues that there is much that the UK can learn from the EU approach and makes recommendations as to how the Consumer Rights Act 2015 should be adapted following Brexit to create a workable, fit for purpose and future-proof system that benefits consumers and inspires consumer confidence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-501
Number of pages21
JournalRevue européenne de droit de la consommation/ European Journal of Consumer Law
Volume2020
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021

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