eBay presented a petition signed by 750,000 eBayers to the European Parliament today. The petition calls for amendments to EU competition law to stop brands from restricting the sale of their products on the internet.
750,000 signatories is a huge number which the EU will find hard to ignore. To put it into context on the Downing Street website the combined total for the top five open petitions have just 195,459 signatures – 251,712 signed the eBay petition from the UK. All of the petitions on Twitition total just 132,255 with the largest being 15455. eBay’s petition addresses a relatively obscure piece of competition law so three quarters of a million signatures shows just how important the issue is for consumers and online sellers.
The EU are already discussing the European Vertical Restraints Regulation and Guidelines and as part of this process, eBay are calling for support for cross-border internet sales, increasing consumer choice and treating online and offline channels are equally.
Over a quarter of a million signatories from the UK, more than 200,000 from Germany and over 100,000 from France agree that brands should not be allowed to bar sellers from selling online or to enforce price restrictions. They also want an end to manufacturers insisting that internet retailers must have an offline retail store before they can sell online, or imposing other sales restrictions on online sellers.
The petition is being backed by Mary Honeyball, Member of the European Parliament for London. She first heard about the petition via an email sent to her personal eBay buying account. As an avid eBay user she decided to back the campaign and support the petition and enable online retailers to sell all goods no matter whether they originate from Asda, Apple or Armani.
eBay are launching an ad campaign in the UK and Germany to heighten awareness of the petition, which will remain open until September 28th. As Alex von Schirmeister, European Head of Business Development at eBay said this is not about eBay, it’s about the millions of EU consumers and their rights to purchase fairly priced products whether on or off line.