European Consumer Centre

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Consumers still face obstacles when shopping online

Many Consumers still experience problems when shopping online; this is shown in a new report released by The European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net). For the last two years, more than half of the cases received by the ECC-Net, 31 000 complaints, concerned online purchases.

The majority of problems concern reported non-delivery, defective products and non-conformity with order. Germany, France, United Kingdom, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are the countries receiving the most cases.

One of the problems that consumers experience is that traders do not always apply the distance selling rules with the result that consumers are denied their legally established cooling off period. Other issues can be that certain services are not provided to a specific country, fake web traders and counterfeit products.

Despite the number of issues faced by consumers the experience is that online shopping is increasing and developing.

Practical do’s and don’ts

The report provides checklists for both consumers and traders. By using checklists with practical advice ECC-Net recommends consumers to:

  • know who you are dealing with
  • pay safely
  • avoid scams
  • understand your commitment

If a trader sells products or services to consumers through a website they must meet certain legal obligations. By using the checklist for traders, traders can take a quick look at the obligations that apply in the EU.

“The European Online Marketplace, Consumer Complaints 2010-2011” highlights the current practical and legal problems consumers experience when engaging in cross-border online shopping. It is a summary of cross-border problems reported by individual consumers to the ECC-Net.


This is the official press release of the ECC-Net published in Brussels on October 24, 2012.

The E-commerce report can be found in the attachment.