It probably won’t come into full force until 2013 but a vote this week by the EU’s Council of Ministers to adopt the Consumer Rights Directive, will mean greater protection for consumers buying online and further burdens on those selling via the internet.
The Directive has now been approved by both the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament and will come into force once it is published in the Official Journal of the European Union, with member states including the UK then having two years before they need to formally implement the measures in to national law.
The big change in the Directive is consumers being given a longer right to return distance-sold goods. Currently they are given 7 days, this will be extended to 14 under the new law (continuing the exemption for personalised goods etc).
Traders will also have to issue online consumers with a ‘model withdrawal form’. This would be used to return the goods and will need to include a whole host of information about the contract, including details of all fees and charges.
The new law will also prohibit the increasing trend of surcharges for certain payment methods, such as credit or debit cards. Traders will be allowed to pass on what it costs them to deliver the means of payment but no more.
The UK Government already recently announced plans to implement the requirements of the Consumer Rights Directive requirements into a catch-all new statute to incorporate the current piece-meal affair that covers consumer protection.
The new ruling could have an impact on the growing number of businesses starting-up and selling online, creating greater burdens on companies and additional costs when dealing with returns based simply on the customers change of mind.
If you run an online shop, what are your thoughts on the forthcoming changed? Do you already offer a 14 money-back guarantee?