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Over half of online electronic retailers break EU consumer laws


Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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10 September 2009

A European Union study into 369 websites selling electronic goods has revealed 55% fail to comply with statutory consumer laws. 200 of these sites were the biggest selling consumer electronics websites. 6 of the 14 UK websites in the investigation 'showed irregularities'.

The EU checked compliance with the Distance Selling Regulations, The E-Commerce Directive and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. 66% of problem websites provided misleading information about consumer rights.

45% of problem sites misled consumers on total price, and 33% of problem sites had incomplete contact details of the trader. Some websites would misinform consumers over delivery charges by applying them at the very end of the transaction, or falsely advertising that delivery is free.

Under EU law, there must be complete information about the name, geographical address and email address of the trader. Online traders must provide detailed information about the products characteristics, price and delivery costs. Consumers must be fully informed of their right to return, warrantee and refunds.

Sites selling electronic goods were targeted because of the huge number of complaints consumer protection bodies received. This is mainly because of the market size; one in four EU consumers who have purchased anything online have bought an electric product. The level of infringement uncovered in the investigation is alarming in light of the market for consumer electronic goods in Europe being worth approximately €6.8bn in 2007.

In light of the report, the EU is likely to introduce stricter regulations to stop future unfair practices by websites selling electronic goods.

Some traders have now been reported and will be contacted by the appropriate national authorities to correct the problems identified. Persistent offenders could be taken to court which could result in fines and the suspension of their website.

To prevent similar sanctions being imposed on your website, legal advice should be taken to ensure your services are not in breach of internet laws. Stay Legal's e-commerce solicitors <> ensure e-compliance with our Stay Legal Seal. As UK experts in Internet law, e-commerce law, Internet and e-commerce compliance, Stay Legal will keep your business on the right side of Internet law.

Zerbakht Khan is a legal assistant to Izaz Ali ( Izaz is a commercial lawyer who specialises in information technology law and intellectual property law with an emphasis on IT, escrow, online and off-line contracts, and the buying and selling of online businesses.

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-09-30 12:37:51 in Legal Articles

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