The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) warns online stores that they must be honest about the expected delivery times and stocks of packages. If companies prescribe too rosily on purpose, the authority can impose fines. Such a sanction was recently imposed on the web store We Love Musthaves.
In recent months, the regulator has received many reports from consumers about online purchases that were not delivered or delivered too late or that were not refunded or refunded late. There were also complaints about the accessibility of web shops.
Extra hustle and bustle
The authority expects online stores to be extra busy in the coming holidays, partly due to the corona crisis. ACM understands this. “But that is precisely why it must be communicated honestly and clearly,” said a spokesman.
“I understand very well that you want to say that something can be delivered within 24 hours, but if that doesn’t work, don’t say so.”
The fact that ACM is intervening now and not earlier has to do with the shock of the first corona wave and the fact that entrepreneurs were not prepared for it. “But you know about the holidays that they are coming and that it will be even busier. Online stores have the experience of the first wave, so we think it is right to say something about it now.”
Behind the hand
ACM will monitor how web shops handle the holidays. “If that does not go well and consumers are deliberately misled, then we have a sanction option available. You can think of imposing fines or imposing an order subject to a penalty.”