Fabian Demicoli

ECC Study on Online Cross-Border Mystery Shopping

 The European Consumer Centres' Network (ECC-Net) published a report on online cross-border mystery shopping. The Consumer Conditions Scoreboard (March 2011) had shown that the total share of consumers shopping online has increased from 37% to 40% in 2010, however, only 9% of this share is related to cross-border purchasing.

 

The European Commission declared in "A digital agenda for Europe" (COM (2010)) that its aim is that 20% of the population will buy online by 2015. This study will amongst others contribute to the Commission's 20% objective by highlighting the obstacles consumers face and by providing recommendations on how to eliminate them.

The purpose of the research carried out for this report was to test the current state of cross-border e-commerce within the internal market with the objective to test in practice whether traders grant consumers the correct protection when selling across borders online. The main part of the research consisted of a mystery shopping exercise and the actual purchases carried out, in early 2011, were in order to check if the traders comply with EU legislation regarding e.g. the level of information and assistance provided after the conclusion of the order.

The product categories identified as most relevant were clothing, sporting goods, household goods, books, music CDs, DVD films, video/computer games, computer software, electronic equipment and products for personal care.

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