The Netherlands makes software updates mandatory from April 27: what does it mean?

From Wednesday 27 April it will be mandatory for Dutch sellers to provide their digital products with software and security updates. Whether it is a robot vacuum cleaner, a purchased app or a smart watch: sellers have to ensure that the product can continue to work.

Mandatory updates

The European Union has been working on new laws for some time to make digital products last longer and to oblige sellers to provide updates and make repairs possible in the long term. The Netherlands has cast European guidelines into a new law, which is why software updates in our country are now mandatory for sellers.

The law has been approved by the Senate and will come into effect from Wednesday 27 April. How long sellers must guarantee updates for digital products depends on proportionality, according to the website of the central government† The duration of support depends on what is reasonable for the consumer. For example, a game that you bought for 20 euros should receive support for a shorter time than a smart thermostat for 200 euros. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is the supervisory authority for compliance with the rules.

Burden of proof with the seller

Furthermore, our country will do even more for consumers thanks to an extension of the so-called reversal of the burden of proof. This concept means that if there are problems with a product after the sale, it is up to the seller and not the consumer to demonstrate that the product worked well on delivery.

The seller first had to demonstrate that a product was in order up to six months after the sale, but from April 27 he must be able to demonstrate this up to one year after the sale. If a product does not comply, it is up to the trader to replace it or repair the defect. If such solutions are not possible, then the buyer should get a refund of the purchase price or both parties can agree on a price reduction.

What do you think of this legislative change to the benefit of consumers? Is it good that the Netherlands puts down on paper that software updates are mandatory? Do you think that the consumer is also in a stronger position in the event of a defect or do you expect the law to be less easy to apply in practice? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this article.

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Thanks for the tip, Ronald!

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