It also called for the legal guarantee to be cut to one year and demanded the freedom for the retailer to set out the options for offering redress.BEUC says that the proposed directive would mean longer legal guarantees than at present in Spain, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Denmark and Greece. It would also improve the situation in the UK, where the consumer only has a short time to return the product or demand compensation.But the consumer group has attacked the proposal for being too timid, arguing that it would not achieve its desired goal of encouraging cross-border shopping because buyers would be forced to go back to the shop where the goods were bought – not very helpful when this might involve a trip from Finland to Greece.BEUC has argued for minimum standardsfor repair and maintenance – and the costs and conditions of after-sales service – to be spelt out in the proposed directive and for the scope of the proposal to be widened to cover services as well as goods. In addition, the UK government has calledon businesses to estimate the “considerable implications” the measure would have for them, including the likely costs.Under the proposal, differences between the legal guarantees (those rights automatically given by retailers when they sell products) in individual member states would be ironed out.The proposed directive would give consumers one year to return faulty goods, and entitle them to a replacement within a month of the defect being found. Shoppers would have the right to free repairs, or a partial refund, for up to two years after buying the goods in question. Any fault found within six months would be presumed to have been present at the time of purchase.In addition, the separate guarantees offered by manufacturers would have to at least match the legal guarantees.The proposed directive has been dogged by controversy from the start. Last summer, the European consumers’ lobby BEUC accused the German government of trying to sabotage the proposal by asking its two Commissioners to vote against it.The retailing industry also went on the offensive, with EuroCommerce accusing the Commission of failing to assess properly the financial impact of the proposal on the retail industry. The decision to commission the analysis, which is likely to take six months to complete once a consultant has been chosen, follows concerted attacks on the Commission’s proposal.Under the plan, shoppers throughout the EU would be guaranteed a basic minimum of legal rights when seeking replacements or their money back for faulty goods.The attacks on the proposed directive on guarantees have been led by EuroCommerce,the EU lobby for the retail industry, and the UK-based Confederation of Information Technology Trade Associations.