Feeds

EC to tackle 'misleading' online gadget sellers

Over 200 'problem' websites slammed

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.