Electronic commerce has the potential to bring significant benefits to consumers. It can provide greater choice, promote competition among suppliers,
and allow businesses to develop new relationships with their customers for mutual advantage. It also has the potential to play a large part in the development of the
cross-border shopping dimension of the internal market. While e-commerce is growing, obstacles to consumer confidence remain.
By providing common rights for consumers and establishing obligations for retailers throughout Europe, the Distance Selling Directive and the Distance
Marketing of Financial Services Directive aim to ensure consumer confidence in distance selling, including e-commerce.
See also: Distance Selling
Distance Marketing of Financial Services
The 'right of withdrawal' is a good example of a measure fostering confidence in distance selling, as it allows consumers to see what they
are buying and to reflect on whether they really made a good deal before making a final decision.
Unfair commercial practices directive (UCP)
UCP is a major step forward in the Commission's strategy to boost cross-border business and consumer confidence.
EU consumers will be given the same high level of protection against deceptive or misleading advertising whether they buy from websites
based in their own Member State or in other Member States. Businesses will have one set of standards for commercial communications on their websites and by email.
See also: Unfair Commercial Practices
Electronic Commerce Directive
- The Electronic Commerce Directive
(2000/31/EC) aims to ensure legal certainty and consumer confidence by laying down a clear and general framework to
cover certain legal aspects of electronic commerce in the internal market. It acknowledges the consumer protection measures in other directives such as Unfair Terms in
Consumer Contracts, Distance Contracts, Misleading and Comparative Advertising, Consumer Credit, Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours, Indication of Prices,
General Product Safety, Timeshare, Injunctions, Liability for Defective Products, Sale of Consumer Goods and associated Guarantees, and the Distance Marketing of Consumer Financial Services.
- Evidence in the market place suggested that trustmarks faced difficulties both in achieving brand recognition by consumers and in becoming
commercially viable and sustainable operations. Final Report on the common characteristics of trustmarks and webseals in the European Union.
Consumer Confidence in e-Commerce
: lessons learned from the e-confidence initiative (8 November 2004).
Eurobarometer results on e-commerce, 2008