At last, legislation is starting to level the playing field in online selling by prohibiting the "pre-populating" of retail website tick-boxes in order to stop consumers being "tricked" into buying products and services that they either don't need, or were not consciously in agreement with at the time of the sale.
EU ministers have passed rules designed to strengthen the rights of online consumers, forcing online traders to disclose the total cost of a product - including fees - and customers will have to actively opt-in to extras. EU Members will have two years to implement these enforced rules throughout their countries.
14 days to “cool off”
Interestingly, customers will now also be exempt from any costs of which they were not "properly informed" before placing an order and will be given a 14-day "cooling off" period for withdrawing from a sales contract, doubling the current mandatory period of seven days. In addition to this, traders will not be allowed to make profits from standard applied charges associated with a sale. For example, a retailer cannot now make a profit from charges levied on customers for using a credit card and those with telephone sales hotlines will only be allowed to charge customers basic call rates.
We, as consumers, are all prone to the odd "temporary lapse of concentration" when buying online. These changes mean that we will all know the exact price of an online product including fees and we will be refunded for any unwanted sale within 14 days.
This IS progress.
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