Excessive surcharges on card payments and pre-ticked boxes on websites are to be banned following the coming into force of new EU consumer rights legislation today. Under the new rules, which must be fully implemented by 13th June 2014, retailers across the EU will also have to give clearer price information and provide shoppers with longer cooling-off periods to cancel orders and return goods.
Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles, who helped to steer the EU legislation though the European Parliament, commented:
“These new rules will finally bring consumer law into line with the digital era. This is particularly welcome news for customers in the UK, who now do more of their shopping online than almost any other country in the world.
“I am also glad that UK businesses have been overwhelmingly supportive of these changes. Greater legal clarity will make it easier for Britain’s world-leading digital firms to expand into Europe, where the rapidly growing e-commerce market is now worth over £200 billion a year.
“This is an example of what the EU does best, getting a better deal for consumers at home while creating exciting new opportunities for businesses abroad.”
Notes to editors
More information on the EU Consumer Rights Directive can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/consumer-marketing/rights-contracts/directive/
An Ofcom report published yesterday found that on average UK consumers spent £1,175 online in 2012, up 16% from the previous year and significantly more than any other country surveyed. http://www.populus.co.uk/item/UK-a-nation-of-online-shoppers/
A recent survey of UK business leaders by global law firm Eversheds found that 70% of respondents agreed that new laws are needed to deal with the provision of digital content such as apps, games, music and films. 71% of respondents welcomed the proposed increases in the prominence and transparency of contract terms under the new EU rules http://www.freshbusinessthinking.com/news.php?CID=0&NID=21092&PGID=1#.Uqr6iG3Nk_I
The EU’s e-commerce sector was estimated to be worth €276.5 billion in 2012