Today the European business community is presenting its voluntary tool (link) to better inform consumers when they’re shopping online. The aim is to help companies find good ways to present their information to consumers including standard terms and conditions.
The tool was developed in the spirit of the ‘New Deal for Consumers’ and agreed by the business organisations expert group (signatories are listed below). This initiative was facilitated by the European Commission, which today published its own guidance on the ‘Unfair contract terms’ directive to improve online shopping.
The European business voluntary tool includes practical examples through a “Consumer Journey” – a graphic that helps businesses understand at which stage the information should be given and how it could look like in order to be easily understandable, including mandatory consumer information.
Companies would retain the flexibility to adjust their presentation of consumer information to their specific business identity and their customers’ specific needs and expectations.
Legal requirements regarding mandatory consumer information are complex and very lengthy. Under EU law, numerous information items are required from business when selling online. Consumers have difficulties to understand and sometimes to find the most relevant information. The better consumers are informed about their rights, the more trust they have in buying products, in particular online. The clearer information is provided upfront, the fewer misunderstandings and disputes arise at a later stage.
The participating associations will raise awareness about this tool, recommend members to take these suggestions into account when designing their websites, and will revisit the initiative in the light of the evolution of the legal framework.