Have you been tempted by a cheaper online offer from another EU country but wondering how reliable it is to shop from abroad? ‘Mystery shoppers’ from the EU-supported European Consumer Centres’ Network have checked just that. Their report (State of the e-Union) shows the results of 305 purchases in 28 countries. Delivery from abroad has turned out to be reliable overall, with 94% of orders delivered (up from 66% in 2003) and only 1% of the products found to be faulty. But shoppers had more problems when returning the goods (as part of the EU-wide cancellation rights), for example with getting the full costs reimbursed. Also, 60% of websites initially selected for the check as friendly to cross-border sales actually presented problems (e.g. with delivery, payment and language options) which made them unsuitable for online shoppers from other EU countries. The exercise confirms the European Commission’s own earlier findings. Before the end of 2011, the Commission will outline its vision and action plan on how to help EU consumers make the most of e-commerce opportunities.
Health and Consumer Commissioner John Dalli said: “It is important for consumers that, once they place an order, the delivery of the products bought online from another EU country is reliable and that, when things go wrong, consumers have easy access to effective redress across Europe. There are still barriers that limit consumers’ choice and undermine confidence in the Single Market. I am determined to continue the work to abolish them”. Here to read more.