EU consumer authorities’ enforcement campaign: Most internet pages offering digital content are in order

As a result of the enforcement campaign by the European Commission and EU consumer officials, consumers can download music, films and games from the internet with more confidence than before. The number of websites that observe consumer protection rules has increased in one year from 50 percent to 80 percent of the total.

In 2012 consumer authorities of EU countries went through 330 websites that sell games, music, videos, and e-books. Consumer Ombudsman took part in the campaign on behalf of Finland. In the campaign attention was paid to factors such as the content of the contract terms, and whether or not the site clearly discloses crucial information of the service and the companies’ contact information.

Shortcomings were found on 172 websites. For example, the contract terms did not necessarily mention at all that the consumer is entitled to compensation in case of a defect in the downloaded service. In addition, many sites failed to clearly disclose that the consumer has not the right to cancel an order after a download has begun.

Officials have been in contact with companies in their own countries that are responsible for the websites with shortcomings and urged them to make the changes that are needed to to meet the legal requirements. So far 116 websites have been fixed, and changes are being made on 49 sites.

Finland’s Consumer Ombudsman took 10 companies under scrutiny; shortcomings were found in eight of them. Five companies fixed the shortcomings at the behest of the Consumer Ombudsman. Discussions are still going on with three companies. Two of them operate from another EU country.

The network of officials responsible for enforcing consumer protection in the EU has held sweep days since 2007. In previous years there have been investigations into online availability and sales of goods and services such as credit, air tickets, electronics, as well as cultural and sporting events.

More information:
Better protection in the EU for those downloading electronic books, videos, and music. Commission press release 14 October 2013.