Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, hosted a workshop with major online platforms to promote best practices for online shopping. He made a roundtable with Airbnb, Allegro, AliExpress / Alibaba, Amazon, Bol, Booking, Cdiscount, eBay, Emag, ETSY, Expedia, Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor, Wish, Yelp, and Zalando.
Discussions focused on preventing fake user reviews, transparent ranking of search results and informing consumers about third party suppliers on platforms. The meeting is part of the Commission’s ongoing efforts to make consumer protection in the EU as strong online as it is offline. It is a goal set out in the recently adopted New Consumer Agenda.
Workshop on fair and transparent online shopping
Part of this work is the collaboration with major platforms on the practical implementation of EU consumer protection rules. An example is the removal of millions of COVID-19-related illegal online listings following extensive contact between the Commission and the platforms. These workshops will also feed into the Commission’s work to update its existing guidance on the application of EU legislation. EU works on the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Consumer Rights Directive. At the same time, the Commission will also analyse whether additional legislation or other actions are needed in order to ensure fairness for consumers – offline as well as online.
New Consumer Agenda for online shopping
The New Consumer Agenda empowers European consumers to play an active role in the green and digital transitions. The Agenda also addresses how to increase consumer protection and resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought significant challenges affecting the daily lives of consumers. More concretely, the Agenda puts forward priorities and key action points. The Agenda focus in the next 5 years together with Member States at European and national levels. This will, among other things, include a new legal proposal aiming to provide better information on sustainability to consumers, adapting existing legislation to the digital transformation as well as an action plan on product safety with China.
Consumer rights in COVID-19 crisis
Whether online scams or cancelled travel arrangements, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many areas of consumers’ lives. The Commission will continue to tackle consumer scams, in cooperation with the Consumer Protection Cooperation network and in dialogue with the platforms and all relevant actors. In addition, the Commission will continue to ensure the protection of travellers and passengers EU rights in case of cancelled trips*. The Commission will analyse the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on the consumption patterns of Europeans, which will serve as a basis for future policy initiatives.
The EU has a solid consumer protection framework developed over many years and recently enhanced through several legislative initiatives from which consumers in the EU will benefit in the years to come. The agenda complements other Commission initiatives such as the Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan, and it will also ensure that the implementation of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework will take consumer priorities into account.