The European Commission has proposed a plan to improve the VAT rules for cross-border ecommerce in Europe. With this proposal it should be easier for consumers and companies to buy and sell goods and services online.
Laws and regulations
As ecommerce become an increasingly mature business, more and more laws and regulations come in place. This is also because Europe desperately wants to have one, unified ecommerce market. The Directive on Consumer Right is one of these examples. As of 13 June 2014 it replaced certain directives and it’s focused more on protecting the online consumer than the European Union did before.
The European member states today reached a common position on the European Commission’s proposal to address geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination. Online stores in Europe are now no longer permitted to offer different prices to customers from other European countries.
Ecommerce Europe is concerned that the proposed one-size-fits-all approach to authentication undertaken by the European Banking Authority won’t help the ongoing fight against online fraud. The European ecommerce association thinks it will only damage the European ecommerce sector and opts for a risk-based approach.
The Competition and Markets Authority in the United Kingdom has found evidence online retailers are colluding on online marketplaces such as Amazon. It had warned several ecommerce companies against price fixing. Consumers were offered bad deals due to retailers discussing prices with competitors or agreeing not to undercut them.
People in Italy are least likely to worry about what would happen to their personal data when buying something online. In Germany however, consumers are the most likely to know their online shopping data is sold to third-parties. These are some of the results from KPMG’s “Creepy or cool” study.
The European Commission carried out a check across 697 ecommerce websites across the European Union and found that 63 percent of them had missing, unclear of incomprehensible information on the right of withdrawal from a transaction. One in three websites had incomplete or unclear details about the trader, while one in five failed to provide consumers with a clear display of price or contract conditions.
The German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (bevh) and German Federal Association of eCommerce (BVOH) have announced a strategic partnership, in order to represent the interests in online trading even more effective.
Manufacturers in Europe have adopted several practices in order to better control the distribution of their products. It happens a lot that products can only be sold by pre-selected authorized sellers or that manufacturers sell their products online directly to consumers. But the European Commission found that manufacturers increasingly use contractual sales restrictions in their distribution agreements and this may harm consumers.
Online food delivery marketplace Takeaway.com has announced its intention to proceed with an initial public offering and listing on Euronext Amsterdam. The IPO is expected to take place in the coming weeks and will probably consist of newly issued shares and existing shares held by the current shareholders.
The Brits have voted for Brexit, which means the United Kingdom will withdraw from the European Union. The whole process of withdrawal will probably take two years, but it’s certain Brexit will affect the European ecommerce industry. Here’s how.
The European Commission has proposed new ecommerce rules which should help European consumers and companies benefit from the Digital Single Market. The plan consists of three measures: tackling geoblocking, making cross-border parcel delivery more affordable and efficient and promoting customer trust.
Geo-blocking, which prevents consumers to purchase consumer goods and accessing digital content online from a certain country, is widespread in the European Union. A survey has shown that 38 percent of retailers selling goods and 68 percent of retailers selling digital content said they geo-block consumers located in other EU member states.
The Online Dispute Resolution platform, aimed to help online shoppers settling disputes with merchants across Europe, still doesn’t offer exactly what it meant to do. The consumer tool was launched officially in February, but still five countries – including big ecommerce markets Germany and France – haven’t connected yet.
The American retail federation welcomes the new, tentative privacy agreement on transfers of personal data between the US and Europe and says officials should quickly implement this measure. “Failure to renew this agreement would create a new trade barrier that would bog down global commerce and drive up costs for businesses and consumers”, NRF says.
Running an online marketplace from somewhere in Europe used to be very complex, with all the different tax rules. But since the beginning of last year each company that sells digital goods is forced to collect VAT based on the country of residence of each buyer. This didn’t make it easier. A European startup explains why.