The EU Consumer Rights Directive (the Directive) came into force in 2011 and was implemented in the UK by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellations and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. Its aim is to protect consumers when shopping ‘away from business premises’, and is often most applicable when shopping online. It sets out minimum information requirements that traders must adhere to, such as identifying the trader and the total price of the goods or services (including taxes and additional charges), and providing access to an online dispute resolution (ODR) platform. All information must be presented in a ‘clear and comprehensible’ manner for consumers. The full list of information requirements can be found at Article 6 of the Directive.
In order to assess compliance with the Directive, the European Commission, with the help of the Consumer Protection Cooperation network across Europe (CPC), annually instructs consumer protection authorities in different countries to undertake an EU wide screening (which they call a ‘sweep’) of online traders’ websites. The latest sweep assessed traders offering a variety of goods, services and digital content, including clothing, computer software and entertainment tickets, whilst previous sweeps have reviewed sites providing services and price comparison tools in the travel sector. The CPC then analyses the different information requirements to establish where ‘irregularities’ of non-compliance exist, and presents a report showing compliance across the EU. Continue Reading