Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Dec 15 2015 23:31:56

Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?

By: Ina Steiner

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A new proposal could mean sellers in Europe would have to accept returns for up to 2 years. In Wednesday's Newsflash, we explain how the European Commission wants to tighten up what is now a 2-year guarantee on purchases. 

The proposal is designed to unify contract laws across countries in the European Union to make it simpler and more compelling for shoppers and merchants to buy and sell outside their national borders. "Only 12 % of EU retailers sell online across borders, and only 15% of EU consumers buy online across borders," the European Commission stated.

The Commission makes a good argument for making consistent rules across member countries. Imagine how a consumer in New England would feel if they weren't sure of basic consumer protections when buying from a merchant located in Arkansas. 

However, the proposal would in effect turn the current 2-year guarantee for faulty items into a 2-year returns policy by tightening it up, including eliminating the requirement that consumers prove that a defect existed at the time of delivery:

"Reversal of the burden of proof: For instance, if an Italian consumer discovers today that a product he/she purchased online more than 6 months ago is defective and asks the seller to repair or replace it, he/she may be asked to prove that this defect existed at the time of delivery. Under the proposed new rules, throughout the two-year guarantee period, the consumer will be able to ask for a remedy without having to prove that the defect existed at the time of delivery."

Human nature being what it is, many shoppers would have no hesitation in wearing a piece of clothing for a year and then returning it citing a "defect," for example.

If the proposed rules go into effect, it could actually restrict the number of companies willing to sell across borders as well as harm merchants selling domestically. That's especially true with certain categories of goods - a one-size-fits-all policy doesn't work when it comes to warranties or returns.

There's another provision in the proposal that could have big consequences for merchants: "For second-hand goods purchased online, consumers will now have the possibility to exercise their rights within a two-year period, as is the case with new goods, instead of the one-year period that currently applies in some Member States."

And note that small businesses (SMEs) would not be exempted from the proposed requirements.

Let us know what you think.




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Perminate Link for Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?   Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Dec 16 02:33:38 2015

Sue "Europe" for being a stupid jack a$$.
Unbelievable.  

Perminate Link for Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?   Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?

by: Mog This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 16 05:00:57 2015

As the scammers would say "bring it on".
I can just see it now.
Buy a high end phone.
Use it for 23 months, return for refund stating the usual scammers excuse of SNAD. Get your money back, go get the latest phone from the next mug seller.
Repeat ad-infinitum.

Perminate Link for Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?   Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 16 05:43:28 2015

Sounds like something Fleecebay would come up with.

Perminate Link for Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?   Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Dec 16 06:58:38 2015

Now that would definitely be an incentive for leaving the EU.

Perminate Link for Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?   Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 16 09:34:37 2015

....oh heeeeal NO.

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by: eastdyke This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 16 10:26:22 2015

How about a common language first?  That should keep the politcos arguing and in work for a few hundred years.  LOL

Perminate Link for Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?   Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?

by: Owen This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 16 10:51:40 2015

Good grief!!!

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Dec 16 11:06:07 2015

The real problem is most chinese products DON'T last 2 years!

That's why I DON'T sell them. . .

Perminate Link for Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?   Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Wed Dec 16 12:05:00 2015

And this is supposed to make things ''simpler'' for who? Scammers??

It wouldn't stimulate trade between countries if someone had 24 months to return an item, actually the opposite would be true.

Small sellers would be essentially put out of business online. They would just sell their items for cash at a flea market and never see them again.

Would this hurt eBay? Of course!

I bet Donahoe will be looking at this closely. Great! We can now offer two year guarantees instead of six months!!

PayPal (and eBay) needs all the help they can get. Don't have one more ''thinking day'', Johnny.......

Perminate Link for Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?   Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Wed Dec 16 12:22:44 2015

So would that be two Metric Calendar years? Gregorian? Julian? Islamic? Jewish? Hijri? Hindu? Buddhist? Hebrew? Astrological? Inquiring minds want to know these things so we know when to return our stale cookies!  

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by: Troy Stiffler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 16 12:24:30 2015

Are they going to differentiate rules for "factory new" and "grey/second hand" products?

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by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 16 12:37:03 2015

Proof of how much it sucks to live in a "representative dictatorship."

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Dec 16 14:25:55 2015

Don't forget that ebafia requires sellers who sell internationally to adhere to the laws in each country.

For me, such an outrageous requirement would mean that I would no longer sell to the few EU countries I currently sell to.

Has The Ho moved to Europe?

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by: Owen This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 16 15:09:05 2015

I don't sell Internationally, thank God. This is so wrong on so many levels.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Dec 16 15:51:26 2015

Giving people six months to decide if they want to keep what they bought is crazy enough, but two years? That's beyond insanity. If I was still selling to people in foreign countries you can be sure that that would come to a stop immediately.

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by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 16 16:20:13 2015


The Ho must be a consultant for the EU

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Dec 16 16:37:14 2015

It just occurred to me:
Despite Google's best efforts to "Low Rank" websites that are "Tiny Device Unfriendly", leaving a selling venue to have your own site would reap the reward in about 2 months,.... after it gets seeded throughout the internet.
My direct website business went down right after I joined a popular venue (because they came up in the search ahead of me).
So, the converse holds true.
This is the Ace up our Sleeve :o)

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by: Bubbles This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Dec 17 00:39:25 2015

I would no longer sell to Europe - full stop. Lots of things are not designed to last for 2 years. It would be scammers paradise.

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Dec 17 00:48:59 2015

This amounts to Frankensales! If this legislation doesn't compel sellers to find another line of work I don't know what will. Good God!

Perminate Link for Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?   Two Year Returns - Unfair to Online Merchants?

by: toyspast This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 17 01:03:26 2015

I thought 6 months was laughable but a two year return policy is just plain criminal. What next, a ten year return policy? Whenever something stops working, you can return? The people who are passing laws about this clearly aren't sellers.

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