European contracts law does not benefit webshops


Web-shops do not benefit from proposals for a new voluntary European Sales Law. Ecommerce Europe expressed this criticism during a hearing held by the European Parliament.

A new Common European Sales Law (CESL) for cross-border E-commerce, with an opt-in basis, will involve extra obligations concerning information. Furthermore, it will actually expect entrepreneurs to ask consumers for their approval on two occasions: once when consumers enter into a purchase agreement and also for express permission to apply the uniform European Sales Law. The entrepreneur will also even have to confirm the second permission.  In other words, according to Ecommerce Europe, the proposed legislation is not web-shop-friendly.  This criticism was provoked by a hearing held by the European parliament this week. Léon Mölenberg, legal advisor with, spoke there on behalf of Ecommerce Europe.

One prominent detail is that the proposals do not seem to benefit consumers either. After all, the current rules relating to applicable law (Rome I) always provide consumers with a minimum of protection – irrespective of the law chosen – that European guidelines and regulations offer in the field of consumer rights (and that is the same level of protection of the CESL), but in addition, they also provide the extra protection of their own, peremptory, national law.  This conclusion is so embarrassing because the idea behind these proposals is to benefit both consumers and webshops in cross-border situations.

In addition to consumer rights

Another point of criticism is the fact that these proposals are necessary, even though the implementation of the new Consumer Rights Directive is already in the pipeline. After all, the Consumer Rights Directive already provides uniform rules for online sales. It is a pity that the European Parliament lacked the political unanimity to also arrive at such uniform rules that would apply to everyone throughout Europe in the field of purchase and guarantees.