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EU reaches deal on rules for online trading

The EU says it has reached a political deal on the first-ever rules aimed at creating “a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for businesses and traders when using online platforms”. Traders selling online via marketplaces, hotels using booking platforms, or app developers are among those who will benefit from the new rules. The regulation will also offer possibilities for resolving disputes and complaints. As part of the Digital Single Market strategy, the rules will apply to the entire online platform economy – approximately 7,000 online platforms or marketplaces operating in the EU – which include world giants as well as start-ups. Certain provisions will also apply to search engines, notably the ones concerning ranking transparency. Small businesses will particularly benefit immediately from no more sudden, unexplained account suspensions and “plain and intelligible” terms and advance notice for changes. Marketplaces and search engines need to disclose the main parameters they use to rank goods and services on their site, and there is mandatory disclosure for a range of business practices – as some online platforms not only provide the marketplace but are also sellers on the same marketplace, they must disclose any advantage they may give to their own products over others. On dispute resolution, all platforms must set up an internal complaint-handling system to assist business users. Business associations will be able to take platforms to court to stop any non-compliance with the rules. Read more

  • Tuesday, 19 February 2019

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