European Commission publishes first findings in view of the revision of EU consumer law directives

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The European Commission published a summary of the main results from the public consultation on the targeted revision of EU consumer law directives on 6 February. The public consultation, in continuity with the Fitness Check of consumer and marketing law  and the evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive, sought feedback on what legislative changes are deemed necessary to update EU consumer law, in view of the upcoming publication of a Commission’s Communications on “A New Deal for Consumers”, expected for April 2018. The Fitness Check indicated that, overall, the current EU consumer legislative framework is still fit for purpose and does not require a major overhaul. Nevertheless, a number of targeted amendments to some of these directives should be considered.

The European Commission has explored the responses of various stakeholders on several propositions for targeted amendments, among which transparency when buying on online platforms, the extension of consumer rights like the right of withdrawal to “free” digital services, redress and penalties. Some of the findings are consistent with Ecommerce Europe’s assessment of the challenges and opportunities of the revision of EU consumer law directives. For instance, over 90% of businesses associations have pointed out that traders face disproportionate burden due to the current obligations under the right of withdrawal from distance and off-premises contracts. This burden was also acknowledged by some consumer organization and Member States. The summary also reveals that, regarding transparency on online marketplaces, stakeholders largely agreed that consumers buying on online marketplaces throughout the EU should be better informed about the identity and status of the seller, in order to increase consumer trust. Stakeholders’ views were less unanimous on the remaining issues.

Regarding the content of the upcoming Communication on “a New Deal for Consumers”, the European Commission indicated that it would also consider revising the Injunctions Directive, as suggested by the Fitness Check and in view of the evaluation of the 2013 Recommendation on collective redress.

Ecommerce Europe keeps representing online merchant’s interests also through its active participation in the European Commission’s REFIT Stakeholder Consultation Group.

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