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Brussels, 14 October 2013
Questions & answers – Sweep on on-line games, books, videos and music
What has happened since December 2012?
Last December we announced the initial results of the sweep (IP/12/
1320). These found that over half of the websites investigated caused concern and were potentially in breach of EU rules. Since December we have been in the so-called enforcement phase of the sweep. Member States authorities have sought to bring the websites into line either through co-operation or, where necessary, legal action
Where do we now stand?
In December 2012, 250 of the 330 websites checked raised concerns over their compliance with EU Consumer rights legislation. A detailed examination revealed that 172 sites were in breach of the rules protection consumers. National enforcement authorities contacted the companies concerned to ensure that the websites offered consumers all the necessary information, advice and warnings. As a result 116 websites have been updated and corrected. 49 websites are subject to further proceedings. In the remaining seven cases two of the websites no longer exist and in 5 cases the infringements were minor and not pursued by the Member States.
What happens next?
Currently national authorities are continuing their enforcement actions. The sweep and the parallel study have highlighted a number of issues which deserve closer attention, in particular how to ensure the most vulnerably, notably children, are protected. The European commission and a number of member states are exploring how best this can be achieved.
On what basis where the websites selected?
National authorities agreed on two main criteria for selecting websites: best-selling or most popular products in their country and/or sites for which they had received complaints. Common criteria for selecting websites targeting younger children included use of pink and cartoons. These websites were often national pages of cross border platforms or operators: about a quarter of the websites flagged for further investigation at the initial stage had a cross border dimension
What are the lessons for consumers?
First and foremost while shopping for digital content brings consumers many benefits there is still a need to be vigilant, informed and ensure that your rights are respected. If in any doubt, think twice about making the purchase.
Before and after buying digital content products online
In case of a problem with a trader in another Member State you can report it to your local European Consumer Centre