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Stronger rights for online shoppers
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Published on 24-06-11

Stronger rights for Europe's online shoppers are set to become a reality after MEPs voted overwhelming in favour of the proposed Consumer Rights Directive.  The Commission proposed the legislation in 2008 to update existing consumer protection laws to new technology and sales methods, and to make it easier for consumers wherever they shop in the EU, either online or on the high street.

    Stronger rights for online shoppers

    EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said: "This is a good day for Europe’s 500 million consumers. The new EU Consumer Rights Directive will strengthen consumer rights by outlawing internet fraudsters who trick people into paying for horoscopes or recipes that appear to be offered for free. Shoppers will no longer be trapped into buying unwanted travel insurance or car rentals when purchasing a ticket online. And everyone will have 14 days if they wish to return goods bought at a distance, whether by internet, post or phone."

    The 10 most important changes will be:

    • elimination of hidden charges and costs on the internet
    • increased price transparency
    • banning pre-ticked boxes on websites
    • 14 days to change your mind on a purchase
    • better refund rights
    • introduction of an EU-wide model withdrawal form
    • eliminating surcharges for the use of credit cards and hotlines
    • clearer information on who pays for returning goods
    • better consumer protection in relation to digital products 
    • common rules for businesses will make it easier for them to trade all over Europe

    Formal approval by member states' ministers is expected in September with publication of the new directive in the EU's Official Journal this autumn.

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    Last update: 27/06/2011  |Top