eBay Challenges EU Trading Laws

    June 23, 2008

eBay is lobbying the European Parliament over trading laws it calls "last century" that are preventing its customers from potential savings.

The online auction company said that traditional manufacturers  are using outdated regulatory laws to restrict the impact of online trading.

"Entrenched manufacturers want to continue making money as they did in the 1950s, but the business models have to adapt for the new economy," eBay’s head of EU liaison Paloma Castro told the BBC.

She said changing the rules would help its customers. "Currently it is estimated that online shopping puts 17% of savings in the average household basket. Looking at these rules could make those savings even better," said Castro.

eBay has the interest of two parliamentary commissioners, Meglena Kuneva, who is in charge of consumer affairs and the internal market, and services commissioner Charlie McCreevy. It also has the backing from representatives from the four main political groups in the European parliament.

eBay’s Call for Action paper will be released on Tuesday June 24, and requests the EU examine regulatory framework for distribution agreements, trademark rules and service and consumer provision.

It wants to end the practice of charging different prices in different regions and replace it with a single worldwide prices for items.

"With the weak dollar, loads of people are looking to buy goods online from the US but, in most cases, you can’t do it," said Castro.

eBay says that a review of the rules surrounding online trade will be examined by the European Parliament, but knows that revising the rules that limit cross-border and international trading will take longer to change.

The company plans to create a coalition of online traders by the end of the year.

"At this stage we just want to raise awareness with consumers that they aren’t getting the best deal," said Castro.