EuroCommerce Expresses Concern Over EU's New Deal for Consumers
Director-general Christian Verschueren of representative body EuroCommerce said that that he is "disappointed" that the European Commission's New Deal for Consumers proposes measures at an EU level to deal with issues present in only a few EU member states.
As part of the New Deal, European Union countries will be able to ban unsolicited, aggressive, or deceptive selling of goods door to door.
Verschueren commented that this move was "neither proportionate, nor factually justified."
EuroCommerce also said it was concerned that this would result in a ban on so-called 'legitimate sales channels.'
In addition, it felt that the Commission should have waited until the results from an EU wide-testing campaign on 'alleged dual quality of food products' before recommending legislation, which makes retailers vulnerable to fines if they sell goods comprised of different ingredients in different countries.
This is a problem as big brands often force retailers to buy products from a local distributor, and cannot source from another region, it said.
Moreover, EuroCommerce said that the new proposal on collective redress, which allows legal action if there is no consumer mandate, needs to include proper safeguards against 'abusive litigation' such as is common in the US.
This could lead to lawyers making money without any benefit to consumers, and driving up higher costs, it said.
Verschueren added, “Member States have different approaches to penalties and can have very effective enforcement systems even without imposing the fines.
"Therefore, we are not convinced that setting fines of up to 4% of their turnover will improve compliance or eliminate rogue traders or unfair B2C practices.”
However, Verschueren did have a positive comment on the general scope of the New Deal for Consumers. “Retailers rely on consumers coming back to their shops, and we have always believed in consumers being given protection and fair treatment.
"It is positive that the scope of the proposals reflects the fact that no major changes are needed to consumer protection and for large parts the Commission is clarifying the existing rules."
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Karen Henderson. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.