Feeds

EC to tackle 'misleading' online gadget sellers

Over 200 'problem' websites slammed

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More than half of Europe's online gadget sellers failed to provide buyers with correct sales information or misled punters over pricing, an European Commission investigation has concluded.

EC investigators visited 369 European websites selling “six of the most popular electronic goods”: compact cameras, phones, MP3 players, DVD players, computer equipment and games consoles in May. The sites investigated included 200 of the biggest retailers and "more than 100 websites... targeted on the basis of consumer complaints".

Just over 200 of the sites investigated were found to be misleading consumers on some way, the EC said. Of these, 66 per cent gave incorrect details about customers' consumer rights, such as their right to return goods bought online or by mail within a minimum of seven days without giving a reason. Some sites presented statutory rights as special offers.

Forty-five per cent of the "problem" sites misled buyers about a gadget’s total price, the EC alleged, by - for example - promising free postage but then charging for delivery.

A third of the sites that troubled investigators failed to provide complete company contact details, the EC said.

Of all 369 sites examined, 14 were based in the UK. Six of them were marked for further investigation, which will be carried out by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). They will be asked to clarify their position or correct the alleged errors highlighted by the investigation.

“Failure to bring a website in line with the law can result in legal action leading to fines or websites being closed”, the EU warned.

None of the 14 UK sites were named in the report, but Iceland and Norway, who both joined the EU probe, have since named local online retailers investigated by the EC.

For example, Vodafone’s Icelandic website and Pixmania.com’s site in Norway were both revealed to have been flagged for further investigation.

Enforcement results will be published next year. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.