EU wants to update legislation on internet shopping

Internet shopping is a constantly growing business. Now the EU Commission wants to revise several EU laws on consumer protection so as to adapt them to the special requirements of the internet. Focal points will be guarantees, rebates and periods of revocation. In the opinion of the Commission, consumer protection in the context of internet shopping is insufficient. Furthermore, complicated regulations were also quite often barriers to the implementation of new business ideas.

According to the Commission, internet shopping has to become more secure. In order to provide EU citizens with more legal certainty in cross-border internet transactions the Commission is discussing the revision of eight directives. The corresponding proposals are listed in a Green Paper.

Here some examples for possible points of action:

  • A more adequate definition of the term „delivery» in the context of cross-border purchases (the most frequent reason for complaint of online customers due to delayed, incomplete deliveries or omission thereof)
  • Clarification and simplification of regulations on the return of products: the current rules in the EU vary strongly, e.g. ranging from a notification of the seller via email to obligatory registered letters
  • Common rules on the right of return and the refund of associated costs: in this respect rules currently vary from returns exempt from any charges to all the cost being charged to the consumer
  • Simplified rules with regard to reductions in price, if rectification of defects or replacement delivery are impossible or disproportionate
  • EU-wide harmonization of periods of revocation, if purchases are to be cancelled
  • Over a period of three months interested people are invited to give their opinions on the Green Paper of the EU Commission. GERMAN