EU has started rolling out stricter laws against online operators dealing with consumer data, including companies that deploy bots to snap up tickets. With automation collecting a massive amount of data, firms need to invest in technology to curb data breaches promptly. These stricter, newer consumer protection rules will roll out to restrict unlawful traders and online tricksters. The new policy is planned to see widespread adoption across every country in the bloc within the next two years.
The new policy draft includes the below measures:
- Ban traders from posting fake consumer reviews on their websites.
- Verify price reductions shown by sellers and ensure that the price posted for reference is at least a month old.
- Informing consumers if the online price is based on the internet browsing pattern. This will help consumers to be aware that the price might be higher than what might be offered to someone else on the same site.
- Banning traders from using automated bots to purchase thousands of tickets for events or seminars online and then resell them at inflated prices.
- The sites offering “free” services need to tell consumers about what personal data they collect and how they use it. Also, they need to give consumers the right to cancel such online contracts within two weeks.
- Informing consumers how search results in online price-comparison sites and marketplaces are ranked, including whether the top results were paid for by merchants.
The rules will impact online vendors tapping into the EU consumer market of 500 million customers, and including industry giants like Amazon, Google, and Facebook. These top firms have already fallen prey to tighter competition due to data-privacy rules in Europe. Breaking EU consumer regulations on a large scale may cost considerable fines, amounting to at least 4% of annual turnover for any company.
The new laws will be an extension of earlier efforts to promote consumer protection in the EU. The directive applies to all EU members — though Britain is set to leave the bloc post Brexit. The UK will have the right to decide whether to mirror EU consumer regulations or decide on forming its domestic laws.