‘Only losers due to withdrawal button’
The European Parliament has approved a right of withdrawal for financial services contracts concluded online. A “completely irrelevant provision” has crept in regarding all distance selling contracts.
This is claimed by Bundesverband E-commerce und Versandhandel (bevh) and the Online Print Initiative (IOP) in a joint statement. They are dismayed by the new obligation to introduce a cancellation function for digitally concluded sales contracts.
According to the interest groups, the EU is introducing “an unnecessary double structure” in online commerce, which only results in losers: consumers, retailers, and future technologies. The right to cancellation and return has never been so easy and fast to exercise as it is now, write bevh and IOP.
The new withdrawal function provides a solution to a non-existent problem, seventeen European trade organizations already stated in an open letter to Brussels earlier this year. It even creates new problems, argues Alien Mulyk, Head of Public Affairs Europe and International at bevh:
‘The new cancellation button aims to make it even easier for customers but achieves exactly the opposite.’
According to the exact wording of the directive, contracts with the new function can only be revoked in their entirety. In practice, this means that consumers cancel the purchase of all products via the withdrawal button, even if they want to keep one or more items from a larger order.
A consideration in the wording of the law suggests that retailers can come up with a technical solution to partially dissolve purchase agreements, without specifying how. “The EU’s original idea of making the cancellation of goods as easy as ordering is implemented in a completely unrealistic way by the new regulation”, bevh and IOP said in their statement.
This could cause problems for in particular the fashion industry, where customers are known to often place large orders with the intention of returning some of the items.
The new right of withdrawal could pose problems for the fashion industry.
‘Misleading and false’
Finally, the interest groups point out the problems with custom-made products. These cannot be returned under existing European law. However, if they are ordered together with standardized products, a cancellation button should be offered in the future. “This gives the impression that individualized orders can also be reversed at any time, which is misleading and false”, says IOP leader Bernd Zipper.