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BEUC and Ecommerce Europe reject EU contract law

The European Union is planning to introduce a contract law system which governs sales of products. But the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) and Ecommerce Europe are strongly against this law, the Common European Sales Law, aka CESL.

The terms under which EU products are bought and sold, mainly online, would be overseen by the CESL, which is proposed as ‘optional’ for traders. But The European Consumer Organisation and Ecommerce Europe aren’t happy with it. This is because the CESL would be in parallel to national laws and this would provoke different rules for the same products.

“It will not provide added value, neither to consumers nor online retailers. In fact it will instead have a negative impact on the development of the Digital Single Market and on the confidence of both consumers and companies when engaging in ecommerce transactions”, the two organizations tell in their joint letter.

It will confuse consumers
The two organizations think it would increase ‘legal complexity, introduce great legal uncertainty, undermine existing rules on private international law and as well as consumer protection standards in a number of European countries’. Long story short: it would confuse consumers and increase the regulatory costs for businesses.

Especially because the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee rapporteur suggested to reduce the scope of the CESL to online transaction. But this would only make the problems bigger, the BEUC and Ecommerce Europe think. It would create a dual system for online (Cross-border) and offline contracts. If the CESL gets the green light, different contractual rules for the same products would occur.

‘Focus on tackling real problems, EU!’
Altogether the BEUC and and Ecommerce Europe are happy with the European Union trying to improve the functioning of the Digital Single Market. But they think it’s better if the EU institutions would focus their resources on tackling ‘real problems’, like the difficulties small businesses have in accessing national markets due to administrative barriers, differences in tax regimes and of course the cultural barriers (language, digital literacy, broadband penetration, intellectual property right laws, et cetera).