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European electronics websites 'breaking consumer protection laws'

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Sep 2009 7:08 User comments (1)

European electronics websites 'breaking consumer protection laws' A European Union investigation into online retailers that sell electronic goods has found that over half of the 369 websites checked were breaking European laws and regulations that exist to protect consumers. The sites sell mobile phones, DVD players and games consoles in 28 European countries (all EU member states except Slovakia - and also included Norway and Iceland).
"We know from the level of complaints coming into European Consumer Centres that this is a real problem area for consumers," said EU consumer commissioner Meglena Kuneva. "We discovered that more than half of the retailers selling online electronic goods are letting consumers down."

200 of the sites were chosen because of their size (largest 200), and the extras were chosen because they were subjects of past complaints. 203 of the 369 are now facing further investigation. Two-thirds (66 percent) failed to explain that consumers had the right to return a product within 7 days of receiving it without having to provide a reason, or that a faulty product must be repaired or replaced for at least two years after purchase - regardless of manufacturer warranty.

Other problems included difficulties in calculating total shipping before ordering a product, which was a problem in 45 percent of cases, and about 33 percent of the stores didn't fully outline the trader's name, address or e-mail details so that the can be contacted easily by a customer. The retailers will be contacted by authorities and asked to explain their position, and to correct the problems identified.

Failure to do so could result in enforcement actions, possible prosecution and fines. "This is a Europe-wide problem which needs a European solution. There is a lot of work to be done in the months ahead to clean up this sector, Europe's consumers deserve better," said Ms Kuneva.

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1 user comment

114.9.2009 16:31

Sounds like the problem is with poor regulations that try to find revenue and not do much else...

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