Two out of every three webshops do not abide by the most fundamental European consumer laws, says a survey that was ordered by the European Commission. Most of them do not apply or display the correct rules concerning the right to withdraw from a contract, the two year guarantee period, or pricing.
Right to withdraw
Many webshops did not say that consumers have a right to withdraw from a contract or purchase within fourteen days, whatever the reason may be. Others kept silent about the European Union's (minimum) guarantee period of two years. "It is not acceptable that European consumers are not being properly informed of their rights relating to online deliveries in 2 out of 3 web shops. The EU rights, such as the right to return goods within 14 days, boost consumers' online trust. They should not be buried in small print", Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said.
A lot of webshops also continue to discriminate based on place of residence or nationality, Dutch newspaper NRC writes. The survey proved that shoppers with a Dutch address often were unable to buy something from a webshop in another EU member state, even if they chose to have the order delivered in the webshop's own country. While shops can not be forced to deliver parcels in the whole EU, they do have to allow customers from the entire EU to make purchases with them if they choose to have the parcel delivered in a country where the shop does deliver for others.
The study was performed by the consumer protection authorities of 27 countries, checking a total of just under 500 web shops in the fields of fashion, shoes, furniture, household items and electric appliances. The precise list of web shops that were checked, was not released.