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Crackdown on online selling protects consumers - 16/09/2010

Man's hands typing on a computer keyboard, also holding 2 slips of paper. © iStockphoto.com/webphotographeer

Most websites selling electronics goods comply with EU consumer-protection rules, though 60% of sites selling tickets are in breach.

A crackdown on online sites selling electronics goods has brought most of them into compliance with the EU’s consumer-protection rules, the Commission announced today.

Last year, a sweep of electronic goods sites found only 44% complied with EU rules. A follow-up check has recently found that 84% are now in compliance, said consumer commissioner John Dalli. Enforcement action on the rest is ongoing.

“Today's results show that the sweeps are working,” continued Dalli.

The problems found last year on sites selling goods like digital cameras and personal music players included misleading information on consumer rights, total prices and how to contact the trader.

This year the EU is focusing on online sellers of tickets for cultural and sporting events. The ongoing sweep has already found that 60% are in breach of consumer rules.

The Commission has so far checked 414 sites, of which 40% are compliant. The other 247 are being referred to national authorities for enforcement action. The main problems were in price disclosure and unfair terms and conditions.

Consumers should watch out for missing, incomplete or misleading information about ticket prices (74% of problem sites), unfair terms and conditions (73%), as well as missing, incomplete or misleading information about the trader (48%).

Once problem sites are identified, national consumer authorities follow up on these findings; they contact the traders or site operators about suspected irregularities and ask them to take corrective action.

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