back to article EC wants pan-Euro online shopping laws

An EU directive that will harmonise consumer protection for online and bricks and mortar sales made another lurch along the Brussels’ legislative roadmap yesterday. The European Commission’s proposed consumer rights directive builds on proposals first made last year to simplify and replace four existing directives covering …

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A long way to go

Lately, I have the impression we're going in the opposite direction. Examples? I used to buy music from the 7digital online store in the UK (I live in Belgium). I have only last week had a mail from them to tell me that their store is now for UK customers only. Then there's the BBC and Sky with their media-players, eg. iPlayer... Also country-specific. There's the iTunes-stores, again per country. And instead of getting better, it's getting worse.

While some online resellers seem to have no problem supplying other countries, like Amazon.co.uk, for others it doesn't seem possible.

My guess? In Europe, it's never going to happen. Too many conflicting interests, licensing problems, regulations on local markets, protectionism, etc... The EC is anyway only for the rich to take advantage of us all. The whole 'open borders' and free circulation of goods and services between countries is a joke. The EC doesn't even manage to have the same VAT percentage throughout the union. But then, it was never intended to work for joe average, only for him to be taken advantage of.

The EC is a total joke, and not a very funny one at that.

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Stop

Once again...

>>Maximum delivery time will be set at 30 calendar days, with sellers bearing the risk of deterioration and loss

Ebay scammers will have a new place to play?

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Anonymous Coward

WTF?

Under current EU distance selling rules.

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_int/safe_shop/dist_sell/index_en.htm

1. Maximum delivery time is 30 days, this is not new.

2. Damage on delivery is the sellers loss not the customers, this is not new.

3. The buyer can return anything they buy on sight, and get a full refund of everything except the return cost. Excluded personalized products, this is not new. This WAS 7 days, now increased to 14, but 7 was plenty.

What is new is

4. Ban on preticked boxes, i.e. the Ryanair preticked 'travel insurance' box. Meaningless, it's not so difficult to uncheck a box.

5. End to hidden charges, i.e. the Ryanair '5.99' tickets that actually add up to 30 quid. Good.

6. "Omissions clause"... not sure how they word that, that could be ripe for abuse by UK.

7. Crack down on pressure selling face to face, .... already have cooling off period, worthless.

8. Disclosure of intermediary status, stoopid, shops are ALL intermediaries to wholesalers, who are intermediaries for importers who are intermediaries for manufacturers. What will happen is EU shops will be made to disclose their suppliers, and their competitors abroad will use that information.

9. Email allowed instead of letter, difficult one that since 'I sent you an email' is unprovable and there can't be a special legal exception just for commerce. Bad.

10. DANGER, be careful to define contract so you don't legalise these crappy EULAs as a side affect of having a black list on unacceptable contract terms. When you unacceptable, and put EULA terms on them you are implicitly accepting the EULA as valid.

11. Auctions covered like any other sale.... bad. 50 people in a room bidding on an item, they all get the same chance, a person buys it and decides they don't want it (e.g. finds out they can't resell it, changes their minds, buyers remorce), those 49 other people have been denied their chance to buy it. It's not fair to them. The buyer can abuse this to keep buying until he gets an auction with few people and the price he wants.

12. Rights displayed at point of sale, i.e. EU advert, like the EU advert in airports to tell you your rights come courtesy of the EU. Pointless. Nobodies going to read small print on their legal rights at a point of sale, do your own advertising, don't burder retailers with it.

You know what. Of these only 5) is the one that really helps consumers IMHO. The rest are vague enough for national governments to use them as protectionism against competing EU nations retailers.

e.g. UK demand preregistration of all contract terms to comply with 10, and penalties for shops abroad that don't comply. Just like it required all databases to be registered as part of it's 'data protection' implementation, so it could go mine them.

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Stop

What now?

Jeez, the existing EU Distance Selling Directive apparently already entitles savvy/dozy web-shoppers to buy goods online, dick about with them so they are 'second hand' and then demand their money back including delivery costs both ways. Now they want to make it even worse for online retailers.

Most bricks and mortar shops wouldn't allow customers to return non-faulty items after using/wearing them for a refund - let alone include the return costs of transport to the shop for both visits including parking fees. Why should this be different for online purchases?

Shopping online allows buyers to easily compare prices at many outlets at no expense and then conveniently have the goods delivered instead of having to visit a shop. The trade-off is that you don't get to 'handle the goods'. Yes, there is a trade-off, but this should be recognised and emphasised, not eliminated with draconian legislation. Many goods sold online have detailed descriptions, access to pdf user manuals, hi-res images, and reviews etc. In a shop you get the box, a price, and a lousy teenage weekend sales assistant who hasn't a clue.

This is all fucked-up and it looks like it's going to get worse.

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