EU Consumer Rights Directive aims to improve conditions for retail industry
On June 13, 2014, new regulations will come into effect for retailers in the European Union. The Consumer Rights Directive aims to simplify and harmonize rules for information rights, payment consent, credit card surcharges and buyer obligations. The Guardian noted that it's all part of an effort to make it easier for merchants to enter new markets and gain customers, but business owners need to verify that their ecommerce software and retail technology comply with the new guidelines.
The full report on the Directive is available on the United Kingdom Parliament website, but a number of commentators have identified key areas for retailers. Most of the changes have to do with the way businesses finalize sales with customers, particularly for online transactions. Therefore, merchants should make sure their retail software and websites are updated accordingly to ensure compliance. For example:
- Confirm order buttons must indicate a contractual agreement to pay. The Guardian explained that this measure protects consumers from accidentally entering subscription services.
- Clear pricing, including extra fees. Customers will not be held responsible for charges that are not explicitly disclosed in the final charge, BDaily emphasized.
- 14-day minimum for returns. Retailers must provide full refunds, including shipping costs unless otherwise noted, if shoppers change their minds within two weeks of receiving the product.
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