Europe’s online traders & consumers jointly reject EU contract law


Plans for an EU contract law system governing sales of products have been strongly opposed in a joint letter by both Europe’s web traders and consumers – the 2 main alleged beneficiaries.

The Common European Sales Law (CESL) would oversee the terms under which EU products are bought and sold – mainly online – and is proposed as “optional” for traders. The fact it would be in parallel to national laws would provoke different rules and safeguards for the same products.

Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) commented:
“The drive to create a parallel EU law for cross-border ecommerce defies common sense. The Commission claims the target beneficiaries are Europe’s consumers and traders, but we are reiterating in unison that it would merely result in greater legal complexity and confusion for both.”

“The case for it has not been made and the numbers just don’t add up. The Commission’s own data rather inconveniently found 90% of businesses do not refuse sales due to other country’s national laws. This blows one of the many holes in the argument that legal diversity is behind Europe’s seriously low cross-border online sales rate.”

“The actual hurdles are practical – consumers hesitate due to delivery concerns (49%), fear of fraud (62%) or availability of redress (59%). CESL wouldn’t solve any of these. It means direct, unhealthy competition with national laws carefully built carefully over decades. The EU must call a halt.”

François Momboisse, President of Ecommerce Europe, the association for online merchants commented:
“Online merchants need the consumers’ trust to strongly increase cross border sales, which is an ambition we share with the Commission. A parallel system of EU legislation, even an optional one, just does not contribute to trust, and therefore we must be opposed to the proposal.”

“Where we seek harmonization and simplicity, this legislation only adds to the patchwork of rules governing consumer rights and online sales. We further wish to lessen the cost of implementing new and additional rules because this will raise the price a consumer pays.”

Read the joint letter here.