Following the news at the beginning of the month that the EU is considering new distance selling regulations harmonised across the whole of Europe many organisations are starting to voice concern at two of the proposals.
The clauses causing concern are giving consumers the right to require the trader to deliver the goods or supply the service in another Member State and forcing the trader to refund return postage from any Member State if the purchase price is over about £35 (€40).
The IMRG were one of the first to voice concerns, but they are now joined by the Business Software Alliance and The Forum of Private Business. All three organisations say that the EU proposals will cripple online SME retailers.
It’s disappointing as the proposals are intended to simplify cross border trading within the EU. As Keith Bird, CEO of eSellerPro points out “In reality, we are entering an increasingly global marketplace and online retailers simply cannot remain siloed. Whilst UK online retail is starting to plateau, the European market is on the rise and those UK-based small and mid-sized retailers that do not embrace selling into Europe will lose out to those that do.”
Retailers need to expand and one of the best ways to do this is to sell across the EU. What’s needed is a unified set of regulations enabling retailers to sell across the EU if they choose to and are ready to, that ensures if they comply with domestic legislation that they’ll be in compliance with the regulations in every other EU country.
In reality what appears likely to happen is that the EU draft a set of unworkable regulations which many companies will attempt to adhere to whilst much of the EU carry on as normal and simply ignore the legislation as too onerous to comply with.