October 10, 2008

EU Proposes More Rights for Internet Shoppers

EU proposes more rights for internet shoppers

BRUSSELS, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission has launched proposals for EU-wide rights to make it easier for consumers to shop on the internet and in the main street.

"The new proposal will guarantee consumers, wherever they shop in the EU, clear information on price and additional charges and fees before they sign a contract," the commission said Wednesday.

The proposed new rules will strengthen consumer protection against late delivery and non delivery, as well as setting out tough EU-wide consumer rights on issues from cooling off periods, returns, refunds, repairs and guarantees and unfair contract term.

They target e-commerce as part of a wide ranging overhaul, upgrading existing consumer protection in key areas where there have been large numbers of complaints in recent years, such as pressure selling, and adapt the current rules to new technology and sales methods, for example, m-commerce and online "ebay" auctions.

"The aim is to boost consumer confidence and at the same time to cut red tape which is holding back business within national borders - - denying consumers more choice and competitive offers," the commission said.

It was estimated 150 million EU citizens -- a third of our population -- now shop over the internet. So far only 30 million of them shop cross border online in the EU. Overall, cross border shoppers spend on average 800 euros (1,100 U.S. dollars) a year, i. e. a total of 24 billion euros.

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