Feeds

EC wants pan-Euro online shopping laws

Now all we need is pan-Euro shopping police

Boost IT visibility and business value

An EU directive that will harmonise consumer protection for online and bricks and mortar sales made another lurch along the Brussels’ legislative roadmap yesterday.

The European Commission’s proposed consumer rights directive builds on proposals first made last year to simplify and replace four existing directives covering consumer rights. It will now work its way at its leisure through the Council of Ministers and the Parliament.

The commission’s avowed aim “is to boost consumer confidence and at the same time to cut red tape which is holding back business within national borders – denying consumers more choice and competitive offers”.

It reckons this will produce a standard set of consumer contracts and reduce compliance costs by 97 per cent. It also hopes that customers will be confident enough to not just shop online with suppliers in their own countries, but to spread their wings and buy right across the union.

The directive demands that sellers – from shops to auctioneers on eBay – provide specified “pre-contractual” information. Maximum delivery time will be set at 30 calendar days, with sellers bearing the risk of deterioration and loss. A 14-day Europe-wide cooling-off period will also be imposed for distance sales, and there will be common rules on repairs and replacements, as well as a blacklist of unfair contractual terms.

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva said: "The Single Market has the potential to deliver a lot more choice and opportunities for consumers. But for that we need an EU-wide safety net of rights so consumers have the security they need to shop around with peace of mind."

Sadly, peace of mind won’t be extended to a number of areas, including financial services, timeshare and package travel, real estate, nor “distance contracts for the provision of accommodation, transport, car rental services, catering or leisure services”. Still, there have never been any problems with these whatsoever, so nothing to worry about.

One thing that does appear to be missing from the proposals is any indication of who will be policing the regulations. With authorities often sluggish in going to bat for their own citizens in consumer disputes, many will be sceptical of how eager, say, regulators in Greece will be to crack down on unscrupulous sellers preying on wide-eyed consumers in, say, Scotland. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.