If consumers in Europe have a problem with something they’ve bought online, they can use the Online Dispute Resolution of the European Commission to try to reach an out-of-court settlement. Most complaints came from Germany, but per capita the United Kingdom is one of the biggest complainers about online purchases.
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 government of Sweden has proposed a new law that will make it illegal for online shops to sell alcohol to Swedish consumers. The new rules are envisaged to enter into force on 1 January 2018. The law is most likely to go against the EU regulations and the European Union has declined such proposals before. Still it can be bad news for some wine sellers.
Consumers in Europe are still not able to shop online in the European Union without being discriminated against because of their nationality. Online stores across the continent keep refusing customers from other countries, charging higher prices to foreign customers or creating virtual boundaries in some other way.
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.
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.