Commission publishes “New Deal for Consumers” package: pros and cons for online merchants

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Ecommerce Europe overall welcomes the publication of the European Commission’s package “A New Deal for Consumers”. The European e-commerce association agrees with the Commission on the fact that EU Consumer Law needed some targeted adjustments and welcomes some amendments that are likely to foster online sales in the European Union. Nevertheless, Ecommerce Europe questions other adjustments that may ultimately harm businesses.

“The New Deal for Consumers has the potential to adapt EU Consumer Law, which is in general still fit for purpose, to the benefit of both online merchants and consumers”, declared Marlene ten Ham, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe. “On the one hand, we are very pleased to see that the Commission proposes to modify momentary rules, such as the right of withdrawal, which led to disproportionate burdens for traders in the past years. On the other hand, we believe that the Commission’s approach, for instance on fines, could be detrimental for online merchants. We will now further analyze the implications of the package for our sector, and soon publish a detailed position paper on the Commission’s proposals”, added Marlene ten Ham.

As a preliminary remark, with regard to the Consumer Rights Directive, Ecommerce Europe fully supports the proposal to refuse the right of withdrawal when consumers have used the goods more than what is allowed to check and test them, as it would have happened in a brick-and-mortar shop. Without questioning this right as such, its application when a consumer over-uses a good led to a disproportionate burden and economic loss for online merchants. In addition, Ecommerce Europe fully supports the proposal of introducing the possibility for merchants to check the returned goods before reimbursing consumers. The New Deal for Consumers introduces new obligations for online marketplaces and several other elements touching different EU Directives that will be elaborated in the forthcoming position paper of Ecommerce Europe.

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