‘Withdrawal button in online stores undesirable’
Seventeen European trade organizations have recently published an open letter to the European Union to express their disapproval of a new withdrawal button. This button allows consumers to undo a transaction after placing an order. “This button exceeds its purpose”, said Marlene ten Ham of Dutch ecommerce association Thuiswinkel.org.
Last week, the European Union met to draft a directive which concerns financial service contracts concluded at a distance. In this meeting, the withdrawal button, which allows consumers to subsequently undo a transaction, was conceived. The proposal was then extended to all products and services sold online.
Seventeen trade associations wrote an industry letter to the EU to express their disapproval. Ecommerce Europe is one of the organizations opposing the proposal. “When will this stop? This is a solution to a non-existent problem,” responded Marlene ten Ham, director of Thuiswinkel.org, the Dutch member of Ecommerce Europe.
‘Consumer law already offers the right of withdrawal.’
“After all, consumer law simply already offers the right of withdrawal.” Consumers within Europe currently have the option to undo a purchase made from a distance (by phone or online) within 14 days, without giving a reason. Under the EU’s new proposal, online stores, among others, will soon be required to incorporate two withdrawal buttons into the process of an online purchase.
‘Leave room for the entrepreneur’
The trade associations are conducting a lobbying campaign over the next two weeks, the industry letter is a part of this campaign. “We want to ask to keep the whole purchase process as flexible as possible. Leave room for the entrepreneur to choose how they inform customers about the right of withdrawal. That is also more pleasant for consumers.”
‘The EU should check whether there is a need for a withdrawal button.’
“The European Commission is currently reviewing digital consumer law. It is examining whether it is still fit for purpose. In our opinion, it would be a more logical step to check whether there is a need for such a button. After all, the fitness check also includes an impact assessment and consultation.” According to the letter, the associations would be interested in co-creating fit-for-purpose instruments with the EU to improve consumers’ understanding of the right of withdrawal.