ECC-Net launches a guide on consumer rights for online traders


The European Consumer Centres has been monitoring online European cross-border trade on a regular basis for over ten years. Now, for the first time the network is launching a practical guide on online consumer rights for traders. 

The guide includes a checklist and an online quiz in order to assist businesses which want to develop their online operations to provide consumer-friendly services. 250 million of people, half of the EU population, will regularly buy over the Internet next year making Europe the biggest B2C e-commerce market in the world.

In 2013, 66% of the complaints handled by ECC-Net related to online purchases, an increase by 6% compared to 2012. The most common problems encountered by consumers when engaging in e-commerce are:

  • problems referring to non-delivery
  • problems related to the product or service itself  (defective or delayed) 
  • issues of non-conformity

This guide is intended to provide advice to traders so as to avoid the most common problems that consumers face when buying online, It reflects the experience gained by European Consumer Centres when dealing with the 32 000 complaints they receive every year and it explicit the main consumer legislation applicable across the EU. Below is a snapshot of some key advice:

• Descriptions of, and details about, the item or service must be true and accurate and presented prominently before the consumer is bound to purchase.

• The consumer has the right to withdraw from the contract within 14 days from the date of the delivery of the goods and you must inform the consumer about this right or the withdrawal period will be extended by up to 1 year. This however does not apply to the booking of travel and accommodation services.

• Unless agreed otherwise, the goods must be delivered to the consumer within 30 days.

You will find the whole guide via the link in the column to the right on this page.

For more information, please contact Jolanda Girzl, head of the ECC-Net centre in Sweden, on +46 54 19 40 52.