Consumer protectionConsumers often face unclear information on prices and discounts when shopping online

The European Commission and national consumer protection authorities published results from an EU-wide screening of 560 e-commerce websites for goods, services and digital content today. It shows that consumers face unclear information on prices and discounts when buying clothes, footwear, computer software or entertainment tickets online.

These are the details:

  • About 60 percent of the examined websites presented their prices and special offers in a way that deviated from EU consumer rules.

  • For instance, on 211 websites, the final price at payment was higher than the initially offered price. In 39 percent of those cases, information on inevitable extra fees for delivery, payment methods or booking fees was not disclosed.

  • Moreover, for roughly one third (31 percent) of the websites that offered discounts, the calculation of discount was found to be unclear or the special offers were actually fake.

  • 59 percent of the websites did not provide an easily accessible link to the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform, which is obligatory under EU law and helps consumers and retailers to resolve their conflicts out of court.

  • EU law also requires that consumers are informed about their right to withdraw from online purchases. However, this information was presented inadequately in almost 30 percent of the websites.

Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, explained: “Online shopping provides many opportunities for consumers. However, more than half of the websites show irregularities, in particular on how prices and discounts are advertised. This must stop as the consumers are often led to confusion and higher price than intended. I am appalled by the high number of the websites that have these problems – I hope they are unintended. Online traders need to fully respect EU consumer rules. National consumer authorities, with the assistance of the Commission, will now take the necessary steps to stop such unfair business practices”.

Source: European Commission

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