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 Thursday, October 16, 2008
Efforts to spur more Europeans to shop online and across national boundaries will be stepped up Wednesday with plans for a new law to guarantee consumer rights across the 27-nation bloc.

The proposed legislation would oblige retailers to make product information available before sale, guarantee delivery within a maximum of 30 days and allow a statutory 14-day "cooling-off" period in which purchasers could change their minds.

Consumers would also be entitled to full refunds within seven days if goods fail to arrive, and companies would be banned from using some "get-out" clauses allowing them to supply products different from those advertised.

While an estimated 150 million Europeans use the Internet to shop, just one in five of those attempts to make purchases outside the home country, according to the European Commission.

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European officials argue that the regulatory regime for e-commerce is vital because the sector is forecast to generate €128 billion, or $174 billion, across the European Union in 2008. The figure could grow by 230 percent in five years, officials say.

Source: Herald Tribune.