What regulatory measures have been taken to protect online consumer rights both at the UK and EU level?

Essay by rashamraUniversity, Master's April 2003

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We've all heard the old adage, "nothing is certain but death and taxes". Nowadays, you can add "change" to that list. Indeed, change is certain, especially when it comes to the increasing influence of the internet and e-commerce on businesses . In fact, E-commerce has added a whole new dimension to shopping for consumers by providing easier access to goods and services of better quality and at lower prices. According to Allen Asher, "about one-fifth of the whole electronic commerce is accounted for by business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions" . As such, "consumer trust is essential for its future development" . In the last 5 years, the government has contended that the introduction of several layers of regulation based on EU legislation into UK law has increased customer confidence in e-businesses and increased these businesses standards of good practice . In this essay I shall outline some of the UK & EU efforts in protecting the consumer rights in this area.

Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000

The implementation of the Distance Selling directive into UK law was to inspire confidence and increase transactions in cross-border shopping, including the internet. The regulation cannot be contracted out and any inconsistencies between the terms of the contract and the regulations would make the contract void . It does not cover contracts relating to auctions , financial services or property and partial exemptions for 'accommodation, transport, catering or leisure services' and goods intended for everyday consumption supplied by regular roundsmen .

The supplier is required to provide, in a clear and comprehensible manner prior to the conclusion of the contract:

*Identity and possibly address of the supplier ;

*Characteristics of the goods or services , their price (including all taxes) and delivery cost ;

*Arrangements for payment, delivery or performance ;

*Existence of a...