Many EU-websites violate privacy-rules

By EDRi · April 23, 2003

According to research by World IT Lawyers, a majority of European websites
violates EU directives protecting on-line consumers. More than half of the
researched websites lacks essential information about the on-line buying
procedure or the consumer right to cancel an order within 7 days. On top of
that, almost half of the websites of companies and institutions lack a
privacy policy. The research compares websites from France, Germany, the
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Websites within the EU should comply with several EU directives, such as
the Privacy Directives from 1995 and 1997, the E-Commerce Directive and the
Directive on long-distance selling. 60 percent of the websites don’t
explain the exact buying procedure to consumers. An equal majority doesn’t
explain the right to cancel an order within 7 days, no matter what the
reason is. Only in Great Britain a majority of companies complies with the
obligation to explain the procedure. But less than 50 percent of these
companies point to the right to cancel an order. In Switzerland, Portugal
and the Netherlands, more than two-thirds of websites omit to tell about
this crucial consumer right.

The researchers have also looked at the availability of the standard
business terms (SBT). Almost 70 percent of the websites don’t allow users
to download these terms. And if they do, only in 6% of the cases they offer
them in the freely available PDF-format. Germany even scores a saddening 0
percent on the availability in PDF.

A copy of the report is available via info at (refer to Louise de Gier).