Major improvements for consumers when shopping online cross-border – but still some obstacles to overcome
The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) has launched the report „Online Cross-border Mystery Shopping – State of the e-Union“ The report reveals that in general consumers can be confident when shopping online across borders but it also shows obstacles that must be dealt with.
Consumer conditions have improved when shopping online across borders compared to the ECC-Net 2003 report on the same subject. The findings support that as long as essential information is provided on the websites, consumers can feel safe shopping cross-border online. Surprisingly the presence of a Trustmark does not seem to make a difference.
The delivery rate of ordered products was 94% which is a remarkable improvement from the 66% in 2003, in addition 86% of all purchases were delivered within 14 days. The report also shows areas with room for improvement. One of the major barriers is the lack of traders willing to sell to consumers in other countries.
Information is still missing
Even though EU directives have been implemented in all countries within the internal market, clearly stating what information the trader must present to the consumer, these requirements are not met by all traders. For example:
- In 18% of the purchases the Mystery Shopper was not informed about the legal right to withdraw from the contract.
- In 63% of the purchases the websites did not contain information about the legal warranty.
- In 12% of the purchases the Mystery Shopper could not find the trader´s email address.
Lack of reimbursement
The Mystery Shopper was reimbursed in 90% of all the purchases which is another great improvement from the 68,5% in 2003. At the same time it cannot be ignored that in more than 50% of the purchases the trader did not reimburse the delivery cost. This needs to improve in order to ensure a continuous positive development in cross-border e-commerce.
Our advice to consumers is „be prepared, not scared!“
See the Report: Online Crossborder Mystery Shopping (PDF)