Ecommerce Europe expresses concerns about the Proposal on Representative Actions

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Ecommerce Europe has recently written to members of the European Parliament and Permanent Representations of the Member States to the EU to share the concerns of the e-commerce industry on the Commission’s Proposal on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, which is currently discussed in these institutions.

It required quite some time for Ecommerce Europe to develop its position on this Proposal mainly because of the high complexity of this Directive and the several substantial questions that it arises. In general, Ecommerce Europe calls on EU institutions to shape a fair, balanced and efficient civil justice system for dealing with mass consumer complaints in Europe. In its view, playing by the same rules is a common interest shared by consumers and businesses. In this perspective, Ecommerce Europe’s has fully supported the European Commission’s efforts on the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation, the adoption of the ADR Framework Directives and the ODR Regulation, and the 2013 Recommendation on Collective Redress.

With the proposed Directive on Representative Actions, the Commission aims to facilitate EU-wide collective injunction and redress actions based on a repealing of the Injunctions Directive. After having carefully assessed the proposal, we came to the conclusion that the proposed Directive certainly provides for an EU-wide collective civil or administrative court action for qualified entities that can seek injunction and redress orders.

However, the Proposal is missing essential provisions regulating the interaction / collision of the proposed collective court action with, on the one hand, existing national mass redress systems and, on the other hand, individual consumer redress rights, providing only minimal harmonization and minimal safeguards to avoid abuse and malfunctioning, no rules for competence and applicable law in case of cross-border action and only minimal, often unclear and confusing or conflicting rules.

The Proposal would have a fundamental impact on basic principles such as subsidiarity, legal certainty, procedural effectiveness and efficiency for consumers, businesses and the legal procedural rules of Member States.

In the view of Ecommerce Europe, the complexity of the issues raised by the Directive, as well as the need to build a coherent and harmonized civil redress system architecture in Europe, are not efficiently addressed by this Proposal.

Fundamental questions on several basic issues of collective court action are not answered or taken into account. That is why Ecommerce Europe advises the European legislators to fundamentally rethink and redesign the whole proposal.

Ecommerce Europe further elaborates on all these points in a detailed position paper, which can be downloaded by clicking here.

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