EU legislation ‘detrimental’ to online retailers

The Assay Powa platform has been tailored to the needs of SMEs and designer jewellers looking to sell online.

E-commerce specialist urges MEPs to vote against proposals.

Proposed amendments to the Consumer Rights Directive could seriously damage the businesses of online retailers if introduced, a major provider of e-commerce platforms to the sector has warned.

Open Plus, which specialises in providing technology to retailers, today sent a 1,200-word letter to all UK MEPs detailing its concerns over various articles which it claims will be severely detrimental to the online retail business environment throughout the EU.

MEPs will vote on whether to accept the controversial amendments to the directive in the European Parliament this Wednesday.

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Changes to the directive are intended to improve the conditions of the European e-commerce environment by striking a better balance between consumer rights and e-commerce traders’ needs.

However, several articles within the document have been subject to criticism by trade bodies, including the Internet Media in Retail Group (IMRG) and the European E-commerce and Mail Order Trade Association (EMOTA).

Earlier this month, the IMRG wrote to MEPs to raise concerns over the proposed changes to the legislation, which were adopted by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee on February 1.

The group says the most damaging one is the requirement for retailers to cover the return costs for a consumer exercising their right to withdrawal for an order value of more than £35.

It also believes that the changes to the right to withdrawal periods and the obligation placed upon retailers to sell into all member states that a consumer requires will cause “serious problems” for some retailers.

Open Plus chief executive Andrew Sykes said: “Care should be taken that legislation does not have the effect of undermining the value of the sector by enshrining in law implementation details that serve to restrict retailers’ innovation in the field of customer experience management. Nor that those complying with the law find themselves hamstrung to such an extent that a portion of trade is lost to traders operating outside the EU area or out with the law.”

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