Shopify has agreed to make changes related to buyer safety and anti-counterfeiting after regulatory intervention in the European Union following a number of complaints, the Commission said today.
Amendments agreed to include a commitment to create a ‘swift and effective’ ‘notice and action’ procedure national consumer protection authorities to report problems they detect; and an agreement to change its models to encourage merchants to be more transparent with consumers.
According to the EU, the complaints – which it says peaked during the COVID-19 pandemic – mainly concerned online shops hosted by the B2B e-commerce platform that engaged in illegal practices, such as make false offers and false claims of scarcity. ; supply of counterfeit products; or fail to provide their contact details.
He said Shopify has agreed to close stores when concerns are raised to it by national consumer protection authorities in the EU – and to provide “relevant business information” to regulators.
Regarding its templates, EU said Shopify has committed to including fields for business information and contact information in templates for online store contact pages and generators for terms. terms, privacy policies and refund policies.
It also agreed to provide clear guidance to traders on applicable EU consumer law, it added.
The context here is that the EU launched a dialogue with Shopify in July 2021 in conjunction with the European Network of National Consumer Protection Authorities (CPCs) to put pressure on Shopify changes to combat illegal practices by traders on its platform.
In a statement, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders praised Shopify’s commitments:
Almost 75% of internet users in the EU shop online. This is a huge market for scammers and rogue traders to exploit, and they will continue to do so unless we act. We welcome Shopify’s commitment to ensuring that merchants operating on its platform are aware of their responsibilities under EU law and are removed if they break the rules.
The EU added that national consumer authorities in the region have also agreed to strengthen their cooperation with the Canadian Competition Bureau against Shopify merchants who are not based in the EU/EEA – suggesting that they will seek to alert Shopify’s national regulator to consumer protection issues that may affect users elsewhere.
The bloc said Shopify’s implementation of the commitments will be monitored by the CPC, adding that national consumer protection authorities could also decide to launch actions at the national level to ensure compliance with EU standards.
A similar EU-CPC dialogue procedure recently involving TikTok – also launched in response to a series of complaints – led to the video-sharing platform making commitments to strengthen advertising disclosures.
While Amazon has also recently bowed to coordinated pressure from EU consumer protection regulators – agreeing to abandon the region’s grim Prime cancellation schemes after another such CPC intervention.