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Be fair to businesses, CCPC warns digital platforms

30 Jan 2023 / business Print

Be fair to businesses, CCPC warns digital platforms

Two-thirds of businesses who sell their products and services to consumers online have reported problems with the platform they use, according to feedback they provided to the Competition and Consumer Protection (CCPC).

The most common issues were a difficulty lodging a complaint with the platform, and difficulty resolving a complaint through the platform’s complaint-handling system.

The consumer watchdog said that nearly half of respondents had experienced these difficulties.

The commission heard from 170 businesses operating across a range of sectors as part of an engagement process carried out in the second half of 2022 on the EU Platform-to-Business Regulation, known as the P2B Regulation.

This gives businesses rights when engaging with online platforms.

Terms and conditions

The CCPC process was aimed at learning from businesses who use online platforms, and raising awareness of the P2B Regulation.

Two-thirds of the businesses who responded made use of social-media sites to offer their products, while around half used search engines and e-commerce site development tools. Some also used online travel sites and online marketplaces.

After problems with complaints, unnotified changes to terms and conditions, lack of information regarding differentiated treatment, and difficulties accessing data were the next most common concerns.

The CCPC sought further information on situations in which a platform suspended or terminated service to a business user.

More than half of respondents who had experienced this issue had contacted the platform and managed to resolve the issue. A quarter, however, were not provided with the required notice period before the termination, and a quarter were not given the required statement of reasons.

Monitoring to continue

The watchdog said that it would use its analysis of the feedback to identify future areas of focus, having also engaged last year with the operators of 23 online platforms to improve compliance with the P2B Regulation.

“While online platforms are encouraged to take a proactive approach to compliance, the CCPC will continue to monitor the correct application of the P2B Regulation, and will take enforcement action as necessary,” it warned.

“Online platforms play a critical role for many businesses who sell goods and services to consumers, and these platforms must ensure that the businesses who use them are treated fairly,” the CCPC added.

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