European Commission proposes new e-commerce rules

On 25 May 2016, the European Commission tabled a package of measures to allow consumers and companies to buy and sell products and services online more easily and confidently across the EU.

The Commission has presented a three-pronged plan to boost e-commerce by tackling geoblocking, making cross-border parcel delivery more affordable and efficient and promoting customer trust through better protection and enforcement.

For geoblocking, the Commission is proposing legislation to 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.

For cross-border parcel delivery, the Commission is proposing a Regulation which will increase price transparency and regulatory oversight of cross-border parcel delivery services so that consumers and retailers can benefit from affordable deliveries and convenient return options even to and from peripheral regions.

The Commission is also proposing a revision of the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation will give more powers to national authorities to better enforce consumer rights.

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