Proposed EU legislation could make doing business in Europe
significantly easier for online merchants. The Consumer Rights
Directive, proposed by the European Commission earlier this
month, would create a standard set of regulations regarding
returns, refunds, deliveries, guarantees and other
eCommerce-related issues. It would replace four existing EU
consumer rights directives: Unfair Contract Terms, Sales and
Guarantees, Distance Selling and Doorstep Selling.
According to the European Commission, the legislation would,
among other things, give consumers a 14-day “cooling
off” period during which they can cancel a purchase and
receive a refund; require delivery within 30 days; and
“establish common rules for online auctions”.
According to an EU survey, four out of five European retailers do
not sell to consumers in other countries, in large part because
of confusion regarding consumer-protection legislation. But the
2008 Eurobarometer survey shows that 75 per cent of those
retailers would begin cross-border selling if the regulations
were standardised across the EU. The European Commission has said
that standardising the consumer-rights regulations across the EU
would slash etailers’ compliance costs by up to 97 per cent.