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New EU directive ‘would be detrimental to retail’


Business groups are urging UK MEPs not to vote in favour of an EU Consumer Rights Directive in European Parliament today, claiming it will be harmful to the retail industry.

The legislation aims to improve the e-commerce landscape across Europe by balancing consumer rights with traders’ needs, but IT solutions provider Open Plus warns that certain parts of the proposed legislation could undervalue the sector.

It has joined e-tail industry representative group IMRG and the European E-commerce and Mail Order Trade Association in opposition to recent amendments made to the directive by the Internal Market & Consumer Protection group.

In a letter to MEPs ahead of today’s vote, CEO of Open Plus Andrew Sykes identified eight problematic articles from the proposed directive and suggested that some of them could overly favour consumers to the detriment of business.

Articles deemed particularly damaging include the requirement for retailers to cover the return costs for consumers who exercise their right to withdraw an order value of over €40 (£34), as well as the extension to the period consumers can withdraw from a contract.

Sykes said: “Open Plus strongly agrees that good service should be at the heart of any responsible business.”

“However, 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 outwith the law.”

The European Parliament says the main goal of the directive is to “increase the confidence of shoppers and provide transparency for businesses”, which it hopes will allow cross-border commerce to flourish.

Published on Wednesday 23 March by Editorial Assistant

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