EU plan to improve parcel price transparency
European cross-border parcel prices are set to become more transparent following a provisional agreement on a European Union regulation on deliveries.
The main elements of the new regulation are:
Price transparency: The regulation does not impose a cap on prices, but aims to foster competitive pressure by allowing users to compare domestic and cross-border tariffs. Parcel delivery providers will have to disclose prices for the services individual consumers and small businesses often use, which the commission will publish on a web site.
Regulatory oversight: Where parcel delivery is subject to the universal service obligation, national regulatory authorities will assess whether tariffs for cross-border services are unreasonably high compared to the underlying cost – as they already do for postal services. National regulators will be given new powers to identify better parcel service providers and the services they offer. This will allow them to get a better overview also of the many innovative new players in the fast-growing EU cross-border e-commerce market.
Traders also have to provide consumers with clear information on prices charged for cross-border parcel delivery and returns, and customer complaints procedures, in line with the Consumers Rights Directive.
The regulation is expected to come into force at the beginning of next year and it will be fully applicable in 2019.
Vice-president Andrus Ansip, responsible for the digital single market, said: “High delivery prices are a major concern for consumers and companies, especially SMEs. With more transparency and a stronger role for the regulators, we are tackling this issue. It is good news again for the development of e-commerce in the EU, after a series of agreements to improve consumer protection, simplify VAT rules and fight unjustified geo-blocking. I thank the European Parliament and the Estonian Presidency for their efforts in reaching an agreement.”