Press release – online retailers unready for 1 January rule change

Retailers unready for EU’s 1 January consumer labelling shake-up

Amazon and Ebay both lose court cases on new rules in 2014

8 December 2014 Brussels – Amazon is among the online retailers being told by the EU to display energy labels next to TVs, fridges, ovens and other products from 1 January to make it easier for consumers to find the most efficient products.

Amazon and Ebay are well aware of the new rules, having already lost early stage court cases in Germany [1]. But Ecommerce Europe, representing more than 25,000 online traders, told the press in late November that most of its members had not taken steps to ready their websites [2].

Online stores have displayed some elements of the EU energy label for years, but have never been required to show the colourful A-G energy label as an image. With more and more trade moving online, the rules were updated, and officially published in the EU’s official journal on 5 March 2014 [3]. These require labelling only for models being sold for the first time after 1 January, with voluntary labelling of all other products covered under the EU Energy Labelling Directive, in order to fit round product cycles.

MarketWatch co-ordinator Frances Downy said: “Energy labels are respected by shoppers who see them as a reliable guide to how power-hungry appliances are. Taken as a whole, this nets Europeans billions in energy savings and lower bills. Some online retailers already let customers filter products by how energy efficient they are. We hope the rest of the pack get their act together quickly in time for January 1.”

MarketWatch is an EU co-funded NGO campaign inspecting over 150,000 products in 660 online and street stores in ten European countries, as well as lab testing suspicious products to check for manufacturer compliance. A survey of over 200 retailers in 11 countries in late 2013 and early 2014 found that an average 62 percent of online products had missing or incorrect EU energy label information [4].

Ends

Notes

[1] MarketWatch summaries of the cases against Ebay and Amazon.

[2] Ecommerce Europe statements to ENDs Europe.

[3] EU directive

[4] MarketWatch press release

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