The European Commission have adopted a proposal which should strengthen consumer rights with the aim of increasing cross border online transactions.
Currently there are four sets of legislation (Unfair contract terms, Sales and Guarantees, Distance Selling and Doorstep Selling) which would be simplified into a single set of rules known as “The Consumer Rights Directive”, if the European Parliament and the 27 member states approve the proposal.
Some of the highlights are an increase from a 7 day cooling off period to 14 days (currently covered by Distance Selling Regulations), the right for buyers to choose between repair, replacement or reimbursement for faulty goods and confirmation that sellers are responsible for loss or damage in transit. The proposal also calls for clear pricing information and any additional costs, to encourage shoppers to compare prices across the whole of the EU.
Currently there are around 150m EU citizens who purchase online, but only 30m make cross border transactions. According to the report 2/3rds of Europeans think there are more potential problems in making cross-border purchases rather than domestic purchases. 56% of Europeans think that sellers from other EU countries are less likely to respect consumer protection laws than suppliers from their home country.
The new proposal aims to boost cross border trade enabling and encouraging all Europeans to buy from the seller offering the best deal regardless of which EU country they’re located in.