EU e-commerce crackdown highlights Cyprus

EU e-commerce crackdown highlights Cyprus

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva today announced the results of an EU-wide investigation – involving 26 Member States and Norway and Iceland – into misleading advertising and unfair practices on websites selling consumer electronic goods.

The investigation included 12 websites in Cyprus – all twelve had problems and will be the subject of further investigation.

The clampdown covered 369 websites across Europe selling six of the most popular electronic goods to consumers in the EU – digital cameras, mobile phones, personal music players, DVD players, computer equipment and game consoles. Online retail sales in this market sector were worth €6.8bn in 2007 – and they’re growing fast.

The investigation covered 200 of the biggest websites selling electronic equipment in the EU as well as more than 100 websites which were targeted on the basis of consumer complaints.

The results of the checks carried out in May this year show that 55% of the websites investigated showed irregularities in particular relating to: misleading information about consumer rights; misleading information about the total cost of the product; or incomplete contact details for the trader.

In the case of Cyprus, of twelve websites checked, all 12 are subject to further investigation.

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva said: “We targeted websites selling electronic goods because I know from my own mail bag, and we know from the level of complaints coming into European Consumer Centres that these are a real problem area for consumers. We discovered that more than half of the retailers selling on-line electronic goods are letting consumers down.

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.”

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In May 2009, national enforcers (co-ordinated by the European Commission) checked websites selling electronic goods for compliance with three crucial EU consumer laws: the Distance Selling Directive, the e-Commerce Directive, and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (see MEMO/09/379 for more details).