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BRC supports the e-commerce proposals from the European Commission

LONDON, 2016-May-26 — /EPR Retail News/ — The BRC represents many e-commerce retailers, including both omni-channel and pure players.

The E-commerce proposals from the European Commission issued today (Geoblocking Regulation; revised Consumer Protection Co-operation – CPC- Regulation; Parcels Delivery Regulation; new Unfair Commercial Practices Directive Guidance) complement those in the Online Contracts Directives that are already being discussed in the Institutions and which the BRC has broadly supported.

The Geoblocking proposal is seen by the Commission as one of the keys for its strategy to expand e-commerce throughout the single market by providing both business and consumers with a better basis for their transactions.
The proposal makes it a requirement that every website should be open to access by consumers everywhere in the EU and that any consumer anywhere in the EU should be able to make a purchase from that website on the same terms and conditions and price as a consumer in the Home State of the retailer for delivery to the normal delivery area of the business.

This should overcome the debate over whether a business is obliged to sell AND deliver to all consumers and the consumer protection law that applies when a business in one Member State sells to a consumer in another Member State without actually targeting consumers in that Member State. The confusion in this area has resulted in uncertainty for businesses and consumers alike.

It also confirms that a product legally on sale in one Member State can legally be sold to a consumer in another Member State.

And it makes clear that access to a website does not imply the trader is actively targeting consumers in another Member State – and thus becoming subject to the rules and regulations of that Member State.
As long as this is legally watertight, this should help all those businesses that have been reluctant to dip a toe in the water.

However, we would wish to emphasise that very many BRC members are already actively selling to consumers not just in the rest of the EU but in many other countries besides. BRC surveys show 66 billion pages of UK retail websites were read in March alone and there was a year on year increase in hits on UK retail websites from all Member States except Estonia with an average of a 52% increase across the whole EU.

This demonstrates that in fact e-commerce is growing year on year and that cross border sales are growing year on year. So while we welcome the Commission initiative, we also stress that the real expansion and growth is happening through the actions of retail entrepreneurs serving the desires of consumers without the need for interference from Europe or the UK.

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