EUROPE: EC Proposes New e-Commerce Rules

The European Commission tabled a new package of measures for the e-commerce market a few days ago, which it said was aimed at allowing “consumers and companies to buy and sell products and services online more easily and confidently across the EU”.

The three-pronged plan will tackle geoblocking, make cross-border parcel delivery more affordable and efficient, and promote customer trust through better protection and enforcement.

The package consists of legislative proposals – to address unjustified geoblocking and other forms of discrimination on the grounds of nationality, residence or establishment; on cross-border parcel delivery services to increase the transparency of prices and improve regulatory oversight; to strengthen enforcement of consumers’ rights and guidance to clarify, among others, what qualifies as an unfair commercial practice in the digital world.

The EC said the legislation will ensure that consumers seeking to buy products and services in another EU country, be it online or in person, are not discriminated against in terms of access to prices, sales or payment conditions, unless this is objectively justified for reasons such as VAT or certain public interest legal provisions.

Andrus Ansip, VP for the Digital Single Market, said: “All too often people are blocked from accessing the best offers when shopping online or decide not to buy cross-border because the delivery prices are too high or they are worried about how to claim their rights if something goes wrong. We want to solve the problems that are preventing consumers and businesses from fully enjoying the opportunities of buying and selling products and services online.”

The EC said the regulation will lead to greater price transparency, adding that it will “take stock of progress made in 2019 and assess if further measures are necessary”.

The full statement can be read on the EC website

NAM Implications:
  • A small step taken…
    • The giant leap may take a little longer…