Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft
CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2000.
Record Control Number: 14148
Category: General policy
An investigation on electronic commerce funded by the European Commission's Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General provides an overview of the current market situation for consumers.
It shows that there are still some teething problems to be ironed out before the full potential of shopping via the Internet can be realised.
Carried out by 'Stiftung-Warentest', the report can be downloaded from the Internet at:
Information is provided on the range of goods and services available, effecting on-line transactions, procedures for returning goods, underlying contractual law, methods of payment and related problems, delivery charges, import regulations, customs duties, import turnover taxes, risks associated with buying abroad and underlying security problems when transmitting confidential data.
The investigation was carried out with service suppliers based in Germany. Orders were placed for products and general services such as books, package holidays and car hire. Financial services were not included. Transactions in other European countries were carried out by Stiftung-Warentest's foreign partner organisations.
It is now possible to buy 'virtually everything via the Internet', says the report. However 'customers are often confronted with a selling system which is not yet fully developed,' and they 'have to acquaint themselves with new ordering and payment procedures which differ radically from company to company'. Safety issues arising from payment by credit cards and the return of unwanted or faulty goods were also highlighted as problem areas.
The advantages of buying over the Internet, such as convenience, 24- hour shopping and the ability to compare prices, were also detailed with the overall aim 'to educate the consumer and to provide market transparency.'
Data Source Provider: European Commission, Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General
Document Reference: Based on the report into 'Electronic commerce in Europe.'
Subject Index Codes: Information Processing, Information Systems