EU new deal for consumers: ETNO and the GSMA call for consistent standards across services in modernising consumer laws
Brussels, 11 April 2018 – In today’s digital age, receiving an SMS to safely finalise an online payment, using an instant messaging app, or enjoying seamless connectivity and compelling content at home or on the go have become commonplace. As consumer habits evolve, it is essential that consumer rules also adapt accordingly.
Today, the European Commission presented a “New Deal for Consumers”, aimed at modernising the Union’s consumer laws. While we welcome the initiative, the GSMA and ETNO believe it is essential that consistent consumer standards apply across industries and emphasise the importance of an evidence-oriented approach to enforcement.
Consumers protected at all times
The GSMA and ETNO support the principle of ensuring more efficient and consistent consumer protection standards across service markets and Member States. Rather than creating sector-specific rules, today’s digital consumers would benefit from clear, simple and horizontal rules that apply to all companies offering similar services.
With new technologies and services emerging, transparency becomes a key tool to address any gaps in consumer regulation. Transparency allows for informed consumer choice and it enables them to choose among different commercial services. For instance, consumers need to be aware of whether a service is provided against a monetary payment or in the context of a “free” model based on the use of their personal data.
Credible enforcement first to ensure proportionality
The GSMA and ETNO underscore the importance of an evidence-oriented approach to enforcement. It is essential that existing regulation is being properly enforced before introducing new, and perhaps unnecessary, rules. Enforcement should always be proportionate, aimed at achieving the intended objectives, and it should take into account any existing national enforcement tool, not only in general law but also in sector-specific regulation.
Consumer trust depends on the consistent application and enforcement of rules across industries. To that end, the GSMA and ETNO would welcome a more harmonised approach, ensuring that consumer protection rules are respected and enforced equally across all industries.