The European Commission has introduced new rules for consumer protection, as part of its much-trumpeted New Deal for Consumers.
The rules aim to better enforce and modernise the current EU consumer protection rules, in line with digital developments and trends in eCommerce.
The Commission says this will ensure, among others, greater transparency of online marketplaces: it will become clearer whether products are sold by a trader or a private individual, and the submission of fake reviews or endorsements will be prohibited.
In addition, sellers will not be able to advertise fake price reductions, and price comparison sites will need to inform consumers about the ranking criteria.
The new rules will also enforce consumer rights: by ensuring compensation for victims of unfair commercial practices and imposing penalties in case of “mass harm situations” affecting consumers across the EU. Member States now have two years to transpose the Directive into their national legislation to ensure that EU consumers enjoy stronger protection measures.
Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said: “The new rules will increase protection for consumers in digital world, which they rightly deserve. The EU is also saying NO to products sold as identical in other Member States, when this is clearly not the case. But these new rules won’t protect consumers from rogue traders and online tricksters unless they are strictly implemented on the ground. I strongly encourage all Member States to ensure that the new rules are implemented without delay.”
Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, added: “Today we are sending a strong warning to traders that they should play by the rules, not bend them. Breaking EU consumer rules on large scale may cost a company a big fine of at least 4% of annual turnover. This will be a sufficiently dissuasive and effective penalty to prevent dishonest traders from cheating. I welcome this new legislation, as it is setting truly European consumer protection standards.”
More information on the new consumer rules are available here.