New EU Law Bans Shady Ecommerce Practices
A new EU consumer rights law has come into effect aimed at stopping some of the undesirable practices that can be often seen from some e-commerce shopping stores. A well-known example of something that this law aims to stop can be found on sportsdirect.com. They automatically add a mug and magazine into your basket when you checkout.
What is no longer necessary?
“Sneak into basket” is now completely illegal, no exception. There can no longer be any sort of additional items or services automatically added to your basket by default.
“Hidden Costs” – these are also now illegal; from extra shipping charges to hidden subscriptions. The costs themselves are acceptable but it’s specifically the failure to inform or explain to the customer about what they are that is the issue. All of these costs must now be clear and upfront and displayed before the user reaches the checkout.
As an extra part of the hidden costs surcharges and other fees must now be fully explained as well as other charges such as processing fees can no longer be charged in excess of what they actually cost. An example of this is a popular airline – one of the main reasons this new law exists – charged £2 for a flight with a ‘process fee’ of £40 – £50.
Forced continuity as a type of bait and switch is now also illegal. This could be where someone purchases something online as a one off purchase, and unknowingly to them they have also been signed up to an on-going subscription. If you can prove that you were not informed of the recurring payments included with the original purchase, you can likely claim all of the money back.
Why have these laws been introduced?
The last time the UK passed legislation on these areas was the 1997 consumer right law – almost 20 years ago! In terms of the internet and e-commerce shopping we have come a very long way and an update in this area is much needed. Digital products or downloads, before now, weren’t even mentioned – meaning consumers had no protection.
Other than, of course, to stop some of the more shady practices of companies trading online, the other main reason for this law is to bring all EU law in this area to the same level, allowing for easier and safer online shopping from other EU countries.
Do countries outside of the EU have to comply with this law?
No they do not. This only applies for sales from and to EU member states. Other countries such as the USA do not need to follow this law – so you still need to be careful when purchasing from non-EU websites!
Bespoke Website Design
Established in 2010, Nexus Websites are a creative digital agency based in Wigan working with clients all over the UK. With a vast range of experience and a proven track record we have everything you need to take your business to the next level.