Today, the European Commission (EC) made several proposals to enhance cross-border e-commerce within the European Digital Single Market (DSM). As part of the agenda Europe 2020, the DSM seeks to promote digital technologies in the European market, which should benefit consumers and businesses.
The current e-commerce package consists of several legislative proposals addressing the following aspects:
- Prevent geo-blocking: Online consumers are often blocked from accessing certain offers across the EU by re-routing consumers back to country-specific websites or asking for country-specific means of payment. Legislation should hence ensure that consumers buying products and services in another EU country, either online or in person, are not discriminated against based on nationality or place of residence in terms of prices, sales or payment conditions. Reasons such as VAT or certain public interest legal provisions constitute the only exception.
- Improve cross-border parcel delivery: The proposals include increased transparency of prices and improved regulatory oversight of cross-border parcel delivery services. With this, consumers can benefit from affordable and efficient deliveries and convenient return options even to and from peripheral regions.
- Increase consumer trust in e-commerce: The proposed revision of the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation seeks to empower national authorities and coordinate their actions in order to better enforce consumer rights and strengthen consumer guidance. This would enable authorities to check if websites geo-block or offer outlawed after-sales conditions (e.g. withdrawal rights), to order the immediate take-down of websites hosting scams and to request information from domain registrars and banks to identify the responsible trader.
Vera Jourová, EU-Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, commented on the proposals as follows: “Too many people in Europe are hesitant to purchase online because they don’t know their rights or think they are hard to enforce. I want consumers to buy online as confidently as they would offline. We will give teeth to consumer protection authorities to better enforce consumer rights online and crack down on fraudulent practices. Today's package is an important step to bring consumer protection up to speed with the online world and to give legal certainty to traders."
Source: European Commission