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EU Businesses Your Rights Online

EU's Online Shoppers Get an Extended "Cooling Off Period" 140

mrspoonsi (2955715) writes with word of a new extension to European consumer protection laws: Previously, anyone who bought a product online was allowed seven business days during which they were able to change their mind and return the product for a full refund. This 'cooling-off period,' during which a refund can be requested without being required to give a reason for the cancellation, has now been extended to fourteen calendar days from the date on which the goods are received. Online retailers and providers are now also banned from 'pre-ticking' optional extras on order forms, such as those adding insurance to the cost of a purchase. For the first time, laws have also been introduced to offer a cooling-off period for digital content, including music, films and books, as BBC News reports. Consumers may now cancel an order for digital content within fourteen days, but only if they have not downloaded it.
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EU's Online Shoppers Get an Extended "Cooling Off Period"

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  • Chart rigging (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Saturday June 14, 2014 @10:33AM (#47236247) Homepage Journal

    While I welcome these protections I wonder how music, movie and eBook charts will come. You could buy thousands of copies, never download them and then get a refund after that week's charts are in. Could be useful for protest songs like the recent celebration of Thatcher's death.

  • RMA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @10:34AM (#47236251)

    Based on my personal experience, this is not new.

    The "desist" period has been two weeks for quite a while in many online retailers.

    (Very convenient when discussing over an RMA.)

    • Law required 2 weeks already in some areas of Europe, just not all. Also, the new part is the return policy on digital content.

      Even though I don't think that would help much, they'll do their best to somehow rig it that you immediately start downloading content you bought.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        I can't speak for other countries but in the UK you generally have to do something to accept goods. An automatic download would most likely be considered by a court to be inadequate, and the point of acceptance would move to when you started playing the file.

        • Well, considering how one of the reasons why people buy content online is that they can instantly access it, I'd dare say that you needn't do it automatically. Just present a "press here to start download&installation" button should do both, ensure people will waive that 2 weeks cooldown period and that they have to consent to download it.

  • Buyer's remorse is the sense of regret after having made a purchase. It is frequently associated with the purchase of an expensive item such as a car or house. It may stem from fear of making the wrong choice, guilt over extravagance, or a suspicion of having been overly influenced by the seller.

    Sorry, I have no pity for that. I've had it before, but it's no fault but my own, and I certainly don't expect anyone to make a law to help save me from myself. (on this, or anything else really, I'm adult, why can't the world treat me like one and let me hold responsibility for my actions?)

    A buyer should have no more rights to reverse a sale than a seller. What if I have "seller's remorse", I really should have charged more for that, I want it back! yea, great idea! Make a law to voilate others' rights

    • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @10:45AM (#47236299)
      So basically, you knocked out that comment after reading the headline - but without bothering to read even the first line, which explained it. Let me help you out there:

      anyone who bought a product online

      So this clearly refers to ONLINE PURCHASES. Ones where you are depended on the seller's description and require that to be accurate: neither over-selling the product nor lying about its state, condition or fitness for purpose. In these cases the seller clearly has an advantage and this extension tot he law is meant to rebalance the trading positions.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        you are depended on the seller's description and require that to be accurate: neither over-selling the product nor lying about its state, condition or fitness for purpose.

        Offline sellers have impulse sales, sales staff pressure, faster arrangements for financing and delivery of large items (less time for consideration), packaging to obscure a product and make claims the (re)seller is not liable for, obscure rules about returns (timing, requirements), a perceived 'place in the community' merely from physical presence and longevity, and more advantages.

        This law is nothing but the EU being used to slow down online retail so it can be co-opted by the established retailers.

      • by tsqr ( 808554 )

        From TFS: This 'cooling-off period,' during which a refund can be requested without being required to give a reason for the cancellation, ...

        In other words, "I changed my mind and I want my money back; never mind that the product is exactly as desribed and functions perfectly." This new law is specifically to cover buyer's remorse, not cases of defective product or packing/description.

    • You can delay an offer to sell you make better than you can delay a "must act now or you'll regret it!" situation.

    • Re:Buyer's Remorse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gnupun ( 752725 ) on Saturday June 14, 2014 @10:51AM (#47236323)

      A buyer should have no more rights to reverse a sale than a seller.

      In many cases, you don't know what you're buying on the internet until you receive it. For example, the product looks/works good on the website, but not in real life. It's hard to determine from the website info and pic that the product is good. The size could be wrong (shoes for eg).

      I think this is great for online shopping, but also likely to be abused in some cases.

      • just dont shop from places with bad pictures, descriptions, or with bad return policies.
        in other words stick to amazon.
        don't need a draconian government to pull this one off we do it free stateside because It Makes Sense.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I certainly don't expect anyone to make a law to help ...

      A buyer should have no more rights ... than a seller.

      ... a law to voilate [sic] others' rights just to save me from my foolishness!

      You know how I know that you're American?

  • "are now also banned from 'pre-ticking' optional extras"

    Now do the same for free software ?

    • Well, it's the controversial problem of whether an "I agree!" checkbox should be checked or unchecked when it's first presented to the user. There's a third state available in Microsoft Windows supplied checkboxes called "Mixed" that shows the check box in an "in-between" state, but I can't seem to find anybody using that.

      • In the UK insurance industry, this is very well regulated - the accepted norm is that you cannot make an assumption, so a checkbox which is neither checked nor unchecked when presented to the user is non-acceptable, with insurance companies moving to either a Yes/No radio set with neither options selected by default, or a drop down with no default value selected.

        • Yep, a checkbox indicates "I assume you didn't want this on." or "This option already was set by us to off/on, did you want to change that?"

      • You answered your question yourself: It only works in one system, possibly just in one browser. It's nothing that the customer of the webpage would want (why would I WANT to let my user make more decisions than he has to rather than make them for him?) or his user would demand (because he doesn't know it exists), so it does not matter.

    • by fisted ( 2295862 )

      "are now also banned from 'pre-ticking' optional extras"

      Now do the same for free software ?

      That practice is virtually nonexistant in free software

      • Different kind of "free". I think he was referring to "free(with ads)" not "free, as in open source"
        Also, some download sites are wrapping free software inside their own adware-spewing "installer"

    • A few years ago, UK-based got into trouble with the consumer-rights TV show Watchdog, because it was secretly adding a coffee mug and sports magazine to everyone's shopping cart. When I saw the old reruns of the show last week I decided to check out the site and they were still doing this crap even as recent as last week.

      I checked the site just now, and they have finally stopped.

      It just proves that no amount of public outcry will ever be as effective as simply using the law to regulate busi

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )

        I'm pretty sure you are missing the majority of what a "Boycott" is. There is a part about actively convincing others to boycott the same company, in addition to you not buying their stuff. The result is that more and more people damage the companies reputation, and fewer and fewer people purchasing their goods or services. This forces the company to either change their ways to get more consumers or go out of business.

        Consumer activism is critical for any society, and it actually works very well when app

        • It's easy to boycott a real store, you just stand outside with a sign and a bullhorn (and a copy of your rights, for the rights-impaired officer that tries to make you leave). It's a bit harder to boycott a website where none of the customers ever meet each other.

          Even the public shaming that got from prime-time UK TV wasn't enough to convince them to change. (And they clearly knew about it, because they responded to the show by saying "we are doing nothing wrong, we will not change, it's th

          • by s.petry ( 762400 )

            Actually an internet store would be easier to boycott because you are not required to be at a location. Start posting on every possible site "This URL is a rip off, don't shop there" and add reasons why. If it's legitimate, they can't sue you. If you post under an identity it will hold credibility as well.

            I have a news flash for you, corporations don't care AT ALL what the public thinks.

            First, no need to be a dick. I was courteous in my response and we can have rational dialogue without sarcasm. To your point, I agree that some companies don't care. This is especially true where the

  • We seem to be missing an important point of copyright law here... it's hard to take away a copyrighted work such as a movie that only needs to be seen once. Theaters have refund policies for "this movie sucks"... but too much of that and a would-be popular movie becomes nonexistent.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That is why you can't return it if you actually downloaded it. But reading was too much effort i guess?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or you could read the summary, which is quite clear - you don't have to take the copyrighted work away, because this is only for the case where the copyrighted work hasn't been downloaded.

  • First, I was like "Yay, I'm more protected as a consumer now!" Then I realized we've already had this for two years around where I live. ;/
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... teaching us why online retail in EU will collapse.

  • Does this mean Europeans will have to wait an extra week for shipping?

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.