EU seeks to boost consumer trust in online shopping

The European Commission launched a drive to boost consumer confidence in buying online, amid signs of mistrust about making cross-border purchases over the Internet, an AFP report said.

The AFP report said European Union's executive arm said that a broad update of EU consumer protection rules would focus on improving online rights as associations were getting 'hundreds of complaints' about bad experiences.

'We need a root and branch review of consumer rules,' EU consumer affairs commissioner Meglena Kuneva was quoted as saying.

'At the moment, consumers are not getting a fair deal on line, and complex rules are holding back the next generation of bright business ideas.'

Although there were basic EU consumer protection rules, national legislation varied widely from one member state to another, causing headaches for both consumers and businesses, the AFP report said.

The commission said European consumers were still jittery about e-shopping, with only six percent making cross-border online purchases.

Top of the commission's priorities is bolstering consumer protection against problems over the delivery of purchases made online and clarifying and standardizing rules on returning items, the report added.

The Bulgarian commissioner said she would use the next three months to sound out consumer organizations, companies, the European Parliament and EU governments before coming up with concrete proposals for action, the AFP report said.