The European Union is to implement new rules with the purpose of making cross-border parcel delivery more transparent.
As part of a broader package of new e-commerce rules designed to make buying and selling across the EU easier for consumers and companies, the plan is to provide regulatory oversight for cross-border tariffs, so that the cost of sending between certain EU countries is not inordinately higher than it is for domestic deliveries.
While the European Commission states that it is not proposing caps on delivery prices—except as a possible last resort—it will provide national postal regulators with data to monitor and check the affordability of cross-border markets.
It will also publish the tariffs of providers, “for a predefined list of most used services”, to increase transparency and competition, making them available on a price comparison website.
These changes follow the results of a public consultation which found that over two thirds of consumers did not make online purchases because cross-border delivery costs were too high—on average 3-5 times higher than domestic services. Consumers and small businesses in remote areas were particularly affected.
Service providers will also be required to disclose to national authorities their turnover, number of parcels delivered, number and status of employees, complaints handling procedures, and information on subcontractors—unless they have fewer than 50 employees and operate in only one country.
The proposed rules await the endorsement of the EU Council of Ministers before they are put into action.
(Source: European Parliament)