Ecommerce Europe recommends better solutions to foster consumer trust EU-wide

December 2015
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Ecommerce Europe proposes policy and market solutions to stimulate consumers’ trust in cross-border ecommerce.

The European ecommerce association wants to ensure that the upcoming legal framework for consumer policies will be fit for the future challenges of this very dynamic sector. In its newly published position paper, Ecommerce Europe reflects on existing legislation and on the new draft proposals announced in the Digital Single Market Strategy of the European Commission. Most importantly, the association asks for full harmonisation of rules and support for industry initiatives.

Ecommerce Europe strongly believes in full harmonisation of consumer rules. A real Single Market needs uniform regulation for all distance cross-border sales, be it online or offline, including the sale of tangible goods, services and digital content. Any legislative proposal only applicable to the online cross-border sale of tangible goods or digital content would lead to a fragmented landscape of different applicable legislation.

In a modern retail sector, a shop should be able to offer different sale combinations (online and offline/cross-channel sales, sales of tangible goods, services and/or digital content) without any unreasonable legislative burdens. In addition, consumer rules need to be simple and easily understandable for both consumers and online merchants.

Ecommerce Europe believes that a pan-European Trustmark scheme is a powerful tool to stimulate trust in online cross-border transactions and that it is essential that European legislators give their support to the most reliable and accessible schemes, such as the Ecommerce Europe Trustmark. The Ecommerce Europe Trustmark stimulates cross-border ecommerce through better protection for consumers and merchants by establishing one European set of rules and by ensuring clear communication on these rules.

The Ecommerce Europe Trustmark is non-profit, based upon self-regulation and offers a European complaints handling service. Starting from September 2015, already over 10,000 certified online shops in 11 countries can join the Ecommerce Europe Trustmark.

Ecommerce Europe welcomes the progress made by the European Commission on the Digital Single Market Strategy and looks forward to the publication of the legislative proposal on contract rules for the online purchase of digital content and tangible goods. Ecommerce Europe has already given its input on the Commission’s draft preliminary texts in October, 2015 and the time has now come to present in-depth recommendations to further support the Commission in its work.

Ecommerce Europe’s position paper therefore covers, for instance, the scope of the proposal, the (non-)conformity of tangible goods/digital content, legal guarantee period, notification and prescription periods, remedies, liability and compensation in case of faulty goods and many other items. For a detailed overview of Ecommerce Europe’s recommendations on consumer policies, please click here to read the full position paper.