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[FYI] Electronic commerce in Europe

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/ European Communities, 2000.  

Record Control Number: 14148  

Date: 2000-01-12  

Category: General policy  

General Information:  

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 

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 

Data Source Provider: European Commission, Health and Consumer 
Protection Directorate-General  

Document Reference: Based on the report into 'Electronic commerce in 

Subject Index Codes: Information Processing, Information Systems