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Published on: Fri 1 March 2019

Majority e-commerce sites show irregularities

Introduction

60% of 560 e-commerce sites show irregularities with EU consumer rules. These kinds of issues turn a company into low hanging fruit for market surveillance authorities, similar as is the case with mistakes in markings on products and packaging. Because how likely is it that you are managing product compliance when obviously you seem not to be able to deal with these more simple, also legal, obligations. Companies using ProductIP tackle product compliance instantly and without substantial investment.

Summary

  • 60% of 560 e-commerce sites show irregularities with EU consumer rules
  • Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality is appalled by the high number of websites that have these problems
  • Consumer protection (CPC) authorities will ensure full compliance of the traders concerned by activating their national enforcement procedures
  • According to ProductIP, it is very likely that these websites will face more pressure from market surveillance authorities regarding product compliance as well

Content

“Online shopping provides many opportunities for consumers.  However, more than half of the websites show irregularities, in particular on how prices and discounts are advertised. This must stop as the consumers are often led to confusion and higher price than intended. I am appalled by the high number of websites that have these problems – I hope they are unintended. Online traders need to fully respect EU consumer rules. National consumer authorities, with the assistance of the Commission, will now take the necessary steps to stop such unfair business practices”. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality


The European Commission and national consumer protection authorities published the results of an EU-wide screening of 560 e-commerce sites. Around 60% of these websites showed irregularities regarding the respect of EU consumer rules, predominately in relation to how prices and special offers are presented.

For more than 31% of the websites offering discounts, consumer authorities suspected that the special offers are not authentic or they found the way the discounted price was calculated unclear. On 211 websites the final price at payment was higher than the initial price offered. 39% of those traders did not include proper information on extra unavoidable fees on delivery, payment methods, booking fees and other similar surcharges. EU consumer law obliges traders to present prices inclusive of all mandatory costs, and where such costs cannot be calculated in advance, their existence at least needs to be clearly presented to the consumer.

Further irregularities with respect to information requirements:

  • In 59% of the 560 websites checked, traders failed the obligation to provide an easily accessible link to the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform, which is obligatory under EU law. 
  • In almost 30% of the websites, irregularities were found in relation to how information was presented about consumers' right to withdrawal. 

Consumer protection (CPC) authorities will ensure full compliance of the traders concerned by activating their national enforcement procedures where necessary.

According to ProductIP, these kinds of issues turn a company into low hanging fruit for market surveillance authorities, similar as is the case with mistakes in markings on products and packaging. Because how likely is it that you are managing product compliance when obviously you seem not to be able to deal with these more simple, also legal, obligations. Companies using ProductIP tackle product compliance instantly and without substantial investment. Contact us to start today.

Resources

Original press release EU Commission in various language available