EU rules for consumer protection in the digital economy enter into force

The new rules of the European Union for consumer protection in the context of the digital economy entered into force on 7 January, following the approval of the Directive on Better Enforcement of Consumer Protection Rules (Omnibus Directive) on 8 November 2019. The Directive forms part of the EU consumer law review known as ‘The New Deal for Consumers’, together with the proposed Directive on Collective Redress, which has not yet been adopted. The Omnibus Directive enhances transparency in online marketplaces, establishing norms about the identity of the seller, the authenticity of consumer reviews and the ranking of offers, for example. It also extends consumer protection to online services that are apparently free, such as social media sites, and introduces tools to improve the enforcement of consumers’ rights, such as heftier penalties and compensation mechanisms. EU member states have up to two years to implement the rules.