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mgh

Consumer Protection

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There are "Distance Selling" regulations in force in the EU that cover internet sales. Typically these require suppliers to provide consumers with the following information amongst other things:- the identity of the supplier and, where the contract requires payment in advance, the supplier's address- the existence of a right of cancellation How many payware suppliers comply with these so as to be able to trade legally in the EU?The UK implementation of the regulations is in:http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2000/20002334.htm

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Well, this topic belongs in the Hangar Chat to begin with, and secondly does not apply to all vendors. Two clauses pertain:"EEA Agreement" means the Agreement on the European Economic Area signed at Oporto on 2 May 1992 as adjusted by the Protocol signed at Brussels on 17 March 1993[4];"and""Member State" means a State which is a contracting party to the EEA Agreement;"In other words, a company in a non-member state is not required to abide by this. And therefore, you are on your own when dealing with them. Having said that, there are similar regulations in most of the countries that vendors are located in. It is UP TO YOU to determine what protections you can expect.Now moving this thread to the Hangar Chat forum.

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"the existence of a right of cancellation"It doesn't apply to unsealed software.Jos

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TomI disagree with your interpretation. The only references to a "Member State" in the regulations are:6 (3) Regulations 19(2) to (8) and 20 do not apply to a contract for a "package" within the meaning of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992[9] which is sold or offered for sale in the territory of the Member States.25 (5) These Regulations shall apply notwithstanding any contract term which applies or purports to apply the law of a non-Member State if the contract has a close connection with the territory of a Member State.Neither the definition of contract, supplier or Article 5 dealing with exceptions excludes contracts where the supplier is outside the EU and the regulations apply to contracts not suppliers.7 (1) Subject to paragraph (4), in good time prior to the conclusion of the contract the supplier shall....The regulations are to protect consumers in the EU and would be valueless if they could be avoided by setting up a site outside the EU. I agree it is probably impossible to enforce them if the company is outside the EU.However, why shouldn't a reputable company provide its address? I'd like to know where a company is before parting with my money.

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But it does apply to sealed software.It's an interesting point if directly downloaded software is sealed or unsealed. I'd argue it's sealed until it has been authorised.

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However much you might like it and however much the EU might word their "laws" to read so, the EU cannot determine the laws companies outside the EU must abide by.While they may be able to control what goods those companies may sell to EU citizens by placing import restrictions on certain goods (thus limiting free trade which is exactly what the EU does in many places) they cannot dictate that companies or individuals outside the EU live by EU laws.For the same reason we in the EU don't have to live by say US laws, or Chinese laws. We don't have to submit whatever we write to Chinese censors because it might appear online and there a Chinese citizen might see it.A European company having their site hosted outside the EU is still a European company...What the EU has been trying to do for years is to make it impossible for non-EU companies to do business directly with EU consumers. They do this by making these sweeping regulations about what companies must do and abide by to do business with EU consumers. Ever more companies fall for this scam (which it is) and refuse to deal with EU citizens because of the huge cost and other problems involved.For example did you know that under EU law a company from outside the EU now has to pay EU salestax on items they sell to EU citizens in the country where each of those citizens lives?This does not take into account potential taxes that company also has to pay in their own country...This quite in contrast to EU companies who only have to pay taxes in their home country. Protectionism in action.Of course this is quite hard to enforce, especially on electronic delivery. But it does deter companies from outside the EU from dealing with EU customers.

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I agree that the EU has no right to tell anyone outside the EU what to do.On the other hand, the EU, like any other country, does have the right to say "if you want to do business in the EU then these are the rules you must follow." As far as protectionism is concerned, I doubt that there is a single country that doesn't operate some form of it.Regarding tax, if I travel outside the EU and bring goods back in I have to pay tax on them. Why should they be tax free because I buy them over the internet? But going back to the main point, why shouldn't a company give its address? I'm in the UK and if the company is in the UK then I have some chance of redress if I'm disatisfied. If it's overseas then my chances fall, if only because of the practical difficulties of distance and language. If it is in a "flag of convenience" country then I reckon I have no chance. That knowledge will inform my decision about how much money I'm prepared to risk.

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