Information Requirements Overload? Assessing Disclosure Duties Under the E-Commerce Directive, Services Directive and Consumer Directive
Savin, A., Trzaskowski, J., Research Handbook on EU Internet Law (Elgar, Cheltenham 2014), Forthcoming
18 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 23, 2014
European Union e-commerce regulation started even before it was known what e-commerce entailed or could become. The legislative process of the Distance selling directive was initiated in 1991, so at a time the general public did not have access to the Internet. The aim of these e-commerce rules "avant la lettre" was to protect consumers when buying at a distance. A major concern in these days were "Tell Sell advertisements", where customers in the middle of the night ordered all sort of products promoted by types likes Mike "It's Amaaaazing" Levey. Once sober, they were confronted with a post man bringing some fancy work-out set, cleaning materials or handy knifes. An aim of the distance selling directive was to protect consumers against these rash purchases. One way this was realized was a cooling-off period, or legal right of return. The other line this Directive followed were legal obligations on how to inform the consumer.
This chapter focuses on information requirements in the context of e-commerce. It considers the Consumer Directive 2011/83 that recently replaced Directive 97/7 on distance selling. In between two other directives were enacted and are discussed in this chapter: Directive 2000/31 on e-commerce and the Services Directive 2006/123. The chapter is structured as follows. First, the three directives central to this chapter are briefly introduced. Subsequently, the relevant Articles concerning information on the name of the provider, contact details, are discussed. Attention is paid to ‘What’, ‘How’, ‘When’, and sanctions (‘what if not’). Next, information requirements regarding placing of the order, essentials, terms and payment are briefly discussed. The chapter ends with a glimpse to the future when discussing Internet accessed via small devices (phones, tablets), and concludes with an evaluation of what all the information accomplishes including suggestions for improvement.
Keywords: internet law, e-commerce law, European union, directives, information requirements
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