State Secretary Mona Keijzer has published a draft bill that imposes stricter rules on online stores and prohibits the posting of fake reviews. Interested parties can respond to the plan that is presented for a month.
The cabinet wants to offer consumers the same protection in web shops as in physical shops. “Too often information on social media, digital platforms and web shops is still incomplete, unclear or sometimes even misleading,” says Keijzer. “That means that as a consumer you can make a purchase or conclude a contract without being well aware of the conditions.” The law, she says, is “necessary to make our economy fairer.”
This is a European directive that must be applied by all member states from 22 May 2022. The law has significant consequences for online stores such as Zalando and bol.com. When consumers search for a product on such a site, the web shops must, for example, indicate whether certain products are placed high because the seller has purchased an advertisement. It must be made clear how the order in which the consumer is shown the search results was established.
If web shops show a ‘personalized’ offer, based on information about other websites that the consumer has previously visited, this must be made clear. Web stores that work with third parties are also required to indicate whether they themselves or the external sellers are responsible for returns. This way the consumer knows where to turn for questions.
The law is also intended to protect consumers who receive free services in exchange for providing personal data. Companies that offer these types of services will soon have to make clear how long the contract will be and how it can be terminated. According to the law, consumers are allowed to immediately terminate such an agreement “for no reason” within fourteen days. If the consumer chooses to do so, the provider must delete the personal data.