What Regulatory Measures Have Been Taken To Protect Online Consumer Rights Both At The Uk And Eu Level?

4170 words - 17 pages

IntroductionWe've all heard the old adage, "nothing is certain but death and taxes". Nowadays, you can add "change" to that list. Indeed, change is certain, especially when it comes to the increasing influence of the internet and e-commerce on businesses . In fact, E-commerce has added a whole new dimension to shopping for consumers by providing easier access to goods and services of better quality and at lower prices. According to Allen Asher, "about one-fifth of the whole electronic commerce is accounted for by business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions" . As such, "consumer trust is essential for its future development" . In the last 5 years, the government has contended that the introduction of several layers of regulation based on EU legislation into UK law has increased customer confidence in e-businesses and increased these businesses standards of good practice . In this essay I shall outline some of the UK & EU efforts in protecting the consumer rights in this area.Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000The implementation of the Distance Selling directive into UK law was to inspire confidence and increase transactions in cross-border shopping, including the internet. The regulation cannot be contracted out and any inconsistencies between the terms of the contract and the regulations would make the contract void . It does not cover contracts relating to auctions , financial services or property and partial exemptions for 'accommodation, transport, catering or leisure services' and goods intended for everyday consumption supplied by regular roundsmen .The supplier is required to provide, in a clear and comprehensible manner prior to the conclusion of the contract:*Identity and possibly address of the supplier ;*Characteristics of the goods or services , their price (including all taxes) and delivery cost ;*Arrangements for payment, delivery or performance ;*Existence of a right of withdrawal ;*Period the offer or price remains valid and the minimum duration of the contract, where applicable ;*Cost of using the means of distance communication.This information must comply with the principles of good faith in commercial transactions and the principles governing the protection of minors . However, Consumers' International's research revealed that 1 in 5 sites failed to give clear total cost of the transaction despite the fact that the price of goods and services including all taxes must be provided. They have also found very few sites actually providing written information on the right to a contract withdrawal .The consumer must also receive the information either 'in writing or in another durable medium which is available and accessible to the consumer' at the time of performance of the contract, including:*Arrangements for exercising rights of withdrawal ;*Place where the consumer may address complaints ;*Information on after-sales service ;*Conditions where the contract may be rescindedSubject to the following exceptions ,...

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