Digital buyers and information: the new Consumer Code

Reviews, returns, innovations and numerous protections: analysis of the changes introduced in Italy and in the EU for those who buy and operate on the Web

Consumer code: Woman makes purchases on an e-commerce
Woman makes purchases on an eCommerce (Photo: iStock Photos)

The new Consumer Code binds to the GDPR bringing substantial (and important) changes for digital consumers. Legislative Decree 7 March 2023, number 26, implemented the so-called "Omnibus Directive", focusing on new protections and rules for those who work in the digital world.

The world has changed a lot in recent years and the Website took on more and more a key role in our existence. In the light of these changes, a change of direction and a revision in the management of key concepts such as the online market, reviews, online searches, services and digital content. Let's find out what's new, for businesses and consumers, in force since 2 April.

How to boost eCommerce using customer photographs

Consumer code: A customer writes reviews
A customer writes reviews (Photo: iStock Photos)

The new Consumer Code: transparency, authenticity, prices and more

The first substantial change introduced concerns transparency regarding the price reduction. The aim is to curb the false downward trend in prices. In fact, the law establishes that not only the price reduction is indicated for each product, but also the lowest price recorded in the last 30 days. Introductory prices and sales below cost with subsequent price increases are excluded.

Numerous innovations have also been introduced on the issue of misleading commercial practices. We are talking about activities that can lead consumers to make choices that, considering all the circumstances, they would never have made. More specifically, the law provides for the total prohibition of promoting a product as identical to another marketed in the EU when it actually has different characteristics.

Fundamental news also for the online reviews. As we well know, in recent years reviews have assumed an increasingly essential role in guiding consumer choices. The new version of the consumer code includes a code of conduct for sellers. In fact, they will have to provide transparent and clear information regarding the origin of the reviews on their website, but above all on the control measures carried out to evaluate their veracity.

They will also be required to adopt procedures to ensure the authenticity of the reviews. Penalties have also been provided for false recommendations and reviews, as well as unfair commercial practices.

eCommerce: why 70% of users abandon their cart?

Consumer Code: E-commerce
eCommerce (Photo: iStock Photos)

The rules for eCommerce are extended to keywords and comments

The new Consumer Code, as it is now clear, mainly involves consumers E-commerce, with the aim of making all online sales even more transparent. Ensuring greater consumer protection and homogeneity in sanctions in the EU area.

If the regulation of product reviews represents an important step, the rules related to the search within the sites also change. In fact, the text imposes that when the consumer uses a keyword to search for products, general information about it must be provided "the main parameters that determine the classification of the products presented as a result of your research and the relative importance of these parameters compared to others".

Not only that: the information must be easily accessible via the web page where the consumer is searching. It should be emphasized that this obligation concerns in detail the sites that deal with electronic commerce and marketplaces, not the search engine providers. Finally, if among the results there are advertisements or sites that have paid to obtain a better classification, this will be indicated to make the consumer aware of it.

Furthermore, the rules imposed by the Consumer Code will also have to be applied with regard to the exchange of products/services with personal data of the consumer. This type of contract is therefore possible, provided that it is subject to the rules of transparency, clarity and fairness which are provided for by law.

Also new for the right of withdrawal. When the consumer chooses to withdraw from a contract, in fact, he will have to refrain from using the digital service or the content. The seller will therefore have to return the contents supplied in the course of use to the consumer, without any impediment and free of charge, within a period of time that is reasonable.

eCommerce today between opportunities, ignorance and little culture.

Consumer Code: Programmer at work
Programmer at work (Photo: iStock Photos)

The penalties: from 5 to 10 million euros or 4 percent of turnover

Sanctions deserve a separate chapter with an important update. In fact, the maximum amount increases from 5 to 10 million euros in the event of an unfair commercial practice attested byCompetition and Market Authority (AGCM). The maximum EU fine, on the other hand, will be 4 percent of the turnover achieved in the Member States involved or in Italy. While the fine of the AGCM in case of non-compliance with emergency provisions reaches 10 million euros. Consumers will also be able to turn to the ordinary judge in order to obtain effective and proportionate compensation.

Here comes the Google badge for the most deserving e-commerce

Here's how Amazon apps work on Android and iOS

The presentation of the new Google Campus Europaallee in Zurich

The countries with the highest number of Internet users between 1990 and 2021

Consumer code: shop online
Shop online (Photo: iStock Photos)