Feeds

EC to tackle 'misleading' online gadget sellers

Over 200 'problem' websites slammed

Application security programs and practises

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 Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Microsoft confirms secret Surface will never see the light of day
Microsoft's form 8-K records decision 'not to ship a new form factor'
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.