Consumer protectionNew EU directive strengthens consumer rights when shopping online

The European Parliament adopted a new directive to adapt and better enforce EU consumer law as part of the New Deal for Consumers. In particular, online platforms and shopping online are to become safer and more transparent for consumers.

These are the details:

  • The reform encompasses that Member States can set higher fines if companies act unlawfully. Consumers, on the other hand, are enabled to prematurely cancel the contract in case of unfair business practices.

  • In order to improve transparency, online platforms must clearly inform whether the seller is a business or private person. Details on the parameters – which were used for ranking the products – need to be indicated. Also, it has to be stated if sellers pay for better product placement among search results.

  • Customer reviews must be authentic and the website’s customer review system has to be transparent and understandable.

  • It must be clearly indicated if prices for consumers are personalized. Also, is has to be clear how the price is calculated, i.e. if it is based on the usage of certain smart devices or the customer's order history.

Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organization BEUC, noted: “This is a helpful reform which will better protect consumers. The biggest problem with consumer rights today is how poorly enforced they are. Authorities will have more teeth to protect consumers. Consumers will be better off when they shop on online platforms because they will know who the seller is and whether a product is ranked high up the list because its seller has paid to be there.”

Source: BEUC and vzbv

More information and vzbv press statement