Public consultation on contract rules for online purchases of digital content and tangible goods Published on: 16/06/2015, Last update: 22/03/2017
Consumers and businesses are using the internet more and more to buy products, access entertainment and manage their daily life. However, cross-border e-commerce in the EU is far from reaching its full potential. This public consultation will collect views on possible ways forward to remove contract law obstacles related to online purchases.
When developing policy and legislation, the European Commission consults widely with EU citizens and stakeholders through public consultations.
Civil justice matters, internal market and consumer protection
All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation.
Period of consultation
From 12.06.2015 to 03.09.2015
Objective of the consultation
Consumers and businesses are using the internet more and more to buy products, access entertainment and manage their daily life. In 2014, 50% of EU consumers shopped online, rising from 30% in 2007. During 2013, 38% of businesses in the EU-28 purchased goods and services online.
However, cross-border e-commerce within the EU is still far from reaching its full potential. Only 18% of consumers who used the internet for private purposes in 2014 purchased online from another EU country, while 55% did so domestically. Only 12% of all EU retailers sell online to consumers in other EU countries, while more than one third (37%) do so domestically. There are a number of reasons why the Digital Single Market has not yet reached its full potential in the EU.
The EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy adopted by the Commission on 6 May 2015 establishes a holistic approach encompassing the most important barriers that currently hinder cross-border e-commerce. One of the main problems identified as hindering business and consumers to fully benefit from the Digital Single Market are differing contract rules that apply in cross-border sales within the EU.
The purpose of this public consultation is to collect interested parties' views on the possible ways forward to remove contract law obstacles related to the online purchases of digital content and tangible goods. It does not aim at addressing copyright-related issues as this will be subject of a separate course of action.
How to submit your contribution
We welcome contributions from citizens, organisations and public authorities.
The online questionnaire is available in English. Translations in all official EU languages will be available at a later stage. Contributions may be submitted in any official EU language.
In the interests of transparency, the Commission asks organisations who wish to submit comments in the context of public consultations to provide the Commission and the public at large with information about whom and what they represent by registering in the Transparency Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct. If an organisation decides not to provide this information, it is the Commission's stated policy to list the contribution as part of the individual contributions. (Consultation Standards, see COM (2002) 704, and Communication on ETI Follow-up, see COM (2007) 127 of 21/03/2007).
If you are a registered organisation, please indicate your Register ID number when replying to the online questionnaire. Your contribution will then be considered as representative of the views of your organisation.
If your organisation is not registered, you have the opportunity to Register now. Then you can return to this page and submit your contribution as a registered organisation.
The Contributions received will be published on the internet. It is important to read the specific privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be used.
View the questionnaire
Reference documents and other, related consultations
JUST.A2 DG Justice and consumers
Postal address: European Commission
Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers
Unit A2 – Contract law
Data Protection Disclaimer
Incoming contributions will be published on the website of DG Justice. For further information on privacy rulings for this public consultation see the following Specific privacy statement (15 kB).