The Rise of the Platform Economy: A New Challenge for EU Consumer Law?
Christoph Busch et al., The Rise of the Platform Economy: A New Challenge for EU Consumer Law, 5 (2016) Journal of European Consumer and Market Law 3 (Publisher: C.H.Beck)
9 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2016
Date Written: February 15, 2016
The aim of this paper is to reflect upon the need to adjust EU consumer contract law to take into account the changing market structure caused by the rise of online platforms such as Airbnb, Uber or Amazon Marketplace. It is argued that the existing regulatory framework is primarily focused on ‘bipolar’ transactions between businesses and consumers, and therefore does not provide adequate solutions for the growing number of ‘triangular’ transactions arising in the new platform economy. As a result, in many situations consumers concluding contracts through online platforms are left without effective consumer protection. One possible solution could be a new EU legislative instrument – possibly a ‘Platform Directive’ – clearly defining the criteria for distinguishing whether the platform operator is only a ‘facilitator’ or the actual supplier. In addition, a legislative instrument should specify the duties and obligations of the platform operator, making it clear under which conditions the platform operator is liable for a non-performance by the supplier.
Keywords: Digital Single Market, European contract law, European consumer law, competition law, two-sided markets, online intermediaries, online platforms, sharing economy, online reputation, Airbnb, Uber, Amazon Marketplace
JEL Classification: D18, D40, K00, K12, K20, K21, L10, L15, L40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation