Consumer protection"Sweep" reveals misleading information policies of online shops

Today, the European Commission published the results of an EU-wide screening, a so-called “sweep”, which examined the websites of 481 e-shops selling clothing and footwear, furniture and household items, and electric appliances. The Commission coordinated the 27 EU consumer protection authorities to simultaneously conduct this “sweep” and found that two-thirds of the screened websites do not comply with basic EU consumer rights.

These are the key results:

  • While 160 of the screened websites were compliant with EU consumer law, 321 websites (67 percent) exhibited irregularities and were flagged for further investigation.

  • In over one fifth of the flagged websites, the advertised price was incomplete, as it did not include delivery, shipping or possible additional charges, or information about additional charges was missing.

  • More than a quarter of the flagged websites failed to inform consumers about their right to withdraw from a contract within 14 days of receiving the good without having to justify it.

  • Over a third of the flagged websites did not provide consumer information about the legal guarantee of a minimum of two years for goods to be repaired, replaced or reimbursed in case they were faulty at delivery – even if this shows later on.

  • 45 percent of all the screened websites did not provide the legally mandatory link to the Online Dispute Resolution platform.

Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said: "It is not acceptable that European consumers are not being properly informed of their rights relating to online deliveries in 2 out of 3 web-shops. EU rights, such as the right to return goods within 14 days, boost consumers' online trust. They should not be buried in small print."

Source: EC

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