As of the 13th June 2014, a new Directive on Consumer Rights will be implemented across the European Union. It aims to achieve ‘a real business-to-consumer (B2C) internal market’, which could affect the way you currently run your cross-border e-commerce business.
The Directive replaces the Distance Selling Directive and will require greater transparency for traders and better consumer protection, to create a level playing field for cross-border retailers and customers alike, regardless of their EU country of origin.
“The European Commission will help ensure that the new rules are implemented swiftly in all Member States so that consumers across Europe can have more confidence when shopping, whether online or offline.” – Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner
There are four key changes for consumers and traders: cost transparency, the returns process, consumer protection and common rules for businesses.
The Directive tackles cost transparency by eliminating hidden charges and ‘cost traps’ on the Internet, requiring traders to disclose the total cost of their product or service, and banning pre-ticked boxes on websites. These measures will help ensure that consumers know exactly what they are paying and what they are paying for.
The new returns process allows consumers fourteen days to change their mind on a purchase and traders must offer a refund within fourteen days of the withdrawal request. A new model withdrawal form will be available across the EU and retailers will need to clearly state who will pay for any returns.
Other measures in the Directive include eliminating surcharges for credit cards and hotlines, and better consumer protection for digital products. There will also be a single set of core rules for distance and off-premises contracts throughout the European Union, ensuring fair practice for all cross-border traders.
To find out more about how the Directive could affect your e-commerce venture, read the press release here.