The European Commission has revealed plans to simplify cross-border ecommerce laws between countries belonging to the EU. 

The measures will make it easier for retailers and shoppers to trade from outside their own markets.

Two separate proposals announced today cover digital sales, such as streamed music, and goods sold online.

The proposed directive on the sale of goods, which will be debated in the European Parliament, would bring about a single legal framework covering the whole EU.

This will include a two-year guarantee period for goods, a reversal of the burden of proof for two years and better protection of rights for customers who have purchased faulty goods.

BRC response

The British Retail Consortium tentatively welcomed the move. “The BRC has long campaigned for the same consumer protection laws to apply throughout the EU for the sale of goods and digital content,” it said. 

“The Commission proposal is a good start but still needs to be refined further. It represents a good basis for debate in the European Parliament and the European Council where it can be thoroughly examined and, like all proposals can, where appropriate, be amended in the light of further consideration.

“The proposal does present some challenges. For example, it only applies to online or distance sales.”

The proposed directives are part of the EC’s Digital Single Market strategy, a wider long-term strategy to harmonise ecommerce and digital sales between EU nations.

The Commission says that only 12% of EU retailers currently sell to consumers in other countries within the European Union, compared to 37% of business which trade online within their own markets.