As digital trading is a relatively new phenomenon, it has until recently been regulated primarily by general consumer protection legislation rather than by provisions specific to digital contracts and transactions. Where applicable, digital contracts and transactions are subject to the provisions of the Sale of Goods Act 1893, the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980, the European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations 1995 (S.I. No. 27/1995), the European Communities (Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees) Regulations 2003 (S.I. No. 11/2003), the Consumer Protection Act 2007 and the European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 484/2013).
Directive (EU) 2019/770 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services sets out new rights and remedies for consumers in respects of contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services and is the first major piece of EU consumer protection that deals specifically with digital contracts. Directive (EU) 2019/771 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods which amends and, in some respects, strengthens existing EU legislation on consumer contracts for the sale of goods includes a number of provisions specific to goods with digital elements. Both Directives must be transposed by 1 July 2021 and applied by 1 January 2022. Other recently adopted EU legislation relevant to digital transactions are Regulation (EU) 2017/1128 on cross-border portability of online content services and Regulation (EU) 2018/302 on unjustified geo-blocking. While these legislative measures apply solely or mainly to transactions involving consumers, the European Union has also recently adopted Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 on fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services and this will apply from 12 July 2020.