Ecommerce Europe expresses its concerns over two provisions in the Consumer Rights Directive

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Ecommerce Europe and its members express their concerns over two key aspects of the Consumer Rights Directive and urge EU Member States to revise them before transposing the Directive in the upcoming months.

Ecommerce Europe, the European umbrella organisation for webshops, would like to state its concerns over two key provisions of the Directive: on the reimbursements of goods and the period of time allotted to proceed with them. This is why Ecommerce Europe calls on the European Commission and the Member States to swiftly reconsider these two provisions of the Consumer Rights Directive.

Ecommerce Europe acknowledges the need for consumer protection and trust as a necessity for further growth in the online retailing industry, but this has to be done in a balanced way which creates the possibility for online retailers to run an effective and economically rigorous business. That is why Ecommerce Europe is opposed to two provisions in the Consumer Rights Directive that are highly unfavourable to the online retailing industry.

The first rule calls for online retailers to reimburse goods already delivered to the customer, before these goods have even been returned. This rule is unfair to web merchants and will harm the growth of e-commerce in Europe. Ecommerce Europe therefore suggests that the interpretation of the provision be more balanced, and that it acknowledges the need of a possibility for online retailers to verify the goods before returning the customers’ money within a reasonable amount of time.

The second rule calls for the reimbursement period, after a customer has purchased several products online, to begin only after the delivery of the last package. This is clearly not logical, since ordering multiple issues clearly implies that these products may not be connected to one another and should therefore not be grouped together.
These two provisions in the Directive also do not go along with recent comments underlined by the European Commission on the Single Market Act II Plan, where it was noted that the digital economy would play a key role in helping Europe out of the crisis, despite the fact that 35% of internet users don’t buy online because of payment concerns. Indeed, the online retailing industry has seen growth despite these times of economic crisis, and it represents a key sector in the European economy that should not be weakened.

We support the European Union in its aims to provide a key role for the digital economy to assist Europe come out of the crisis, as it was recently underlined in the Single Market Act II and to aim for a doubling of the e-commerce sector in Europe by 2015. Annette Falberg, Vice-President of Ecommerce Europe, notes: “We acknowledge the need for consumers’ protection and trust as a necessity for further growth in the e-commerce industry. This has to be done in a balanced way, by creating the possibility for web merchants to run an effective and economic interesting business.”

For these reasons, Ecommerce Europe calls on the European Union to swiftly reconsider the Consumer Rights Directive. It also calls on the European Union’s 27 Member States to take these points of concern strongly into consideration while implementing this Directive into their national legislations.

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