EU rules aim to boost e-commerce uptake in Europe

On March 13 Members of the European Parliament adopted a proposal to make the cross-border parcel delivery market more transparent and competitive and to reduce the barriers consumers and e-retailers encounter when purchasing products online in the EU.
Rates for parcels sent from one EU country to another can be up to five times higher than domestic prices, a statement from the European Parliament said. There are also discrepancies in the cost of shipping a parcel from two different EU countries to the same destination.
The European Parliament said: “The lack of transparency in the sector might encourage postal operators to charge unreasonably high prices, which could also prevent small firms from trading in other EU countries. It could also stop consumers from making informed choices and from having access to a wider range of products, affecting especially those living in remote areas.
“This is not only about online shopping. It also affects everyone sending a package to friends or relatives living in another EU country.
Under the new regulations, consumers and e-retailers will be able to compare delivery prices on a dedicated website – a service that is, in fact, already offered by Parcel Compare.
The company’s head of consumer research, David Jinks, said ParcelCompare “launched its revolutionary new service last year: comparing all available prices and services to any destination within the UK and the EU (and beyond), from all the leading courier and parcel services”.
The EU rules also require courier services to provide customers with clear information on delivery prices and conditions, while national postal authorities will collect data from shipping companies to monitor the market and assess unreasonably high tariffs, according to the European Parliament.

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