The Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) is urging online shopping companies to provide consumers with clear, transparent and accurate information on fees, products and services, and is considering tough powers to intervene.
After launching a similar initiative in 2018, the HCO is again focussing on online shopping companies in the wake of a study by the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) network, which includes the European Commission and consumer protection authorities, into 560 e-commerce sites across the EU offering a variety of goods, services and digital content.
According to this study, around 60% of the websites screened showed irregularities in following EU consumer rules, predominately in the presentation of prices and special offers. In addition, the CPC study revealed that:
- special offers advertised on 31% of websites are not authentic or the discount calculations are unclear;
- final prices at payment were often higher than the initial prices offered;
- 39% of websites did not include proper information on extra fees for delivery, payment, booking fees and other surcharges;
- 60% of websites failed to provide an easily accessible link to the Online Dispute Resolution platform, which is obligatory under EU law;
- almost 33% of the websites had insufficient or conflicting information on consumers' rights to withdrawal.
Although the CPC has no power to initiate investigations, the HCO – which has proven itself a leader among the EU's consumer protection authorities – has announced that it will rigorously enforce all legal requirements for Hungarian online shopping.
Since the HCO is expected to focus on irregularities in this study, now may be a last chance for online shopping companies in the Hungarian market to comply with the CPC's findings. For more information on this eAlert, feel free to contact one of our local CMS experts.