The European Commission launched a new online tool on Tuesday giving practical advice to consumers on their digital rights under the European Union (EU) rules.
The eYouGuide, which responds to a call from the European Parliament in 2007, addresses consumer issues like the rights towards broadband provider, shopping on the web, downloading music and protecting personal data online and on social networking sites.
It explains the concrete rights of European consumers surfing the web or shopping online, thanks to 25 years of EU consumer protection rules.
Among others, when online, European consumers have a right to clear information about prices and conditions before making a purchase, delivery sent in 30 days after purchase, a "cooling-off"period of at least seven working days after purchase during which they can change their mind and a minimum two year guarantee on products purchased.
"In the EU, consumer rights online should not depend on where a company or website is based. National borders should no longer complicate European consumers' lives when they go online to buy a book or download a song," said Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner for Information Society and Media.
Even though 48.5 percent of EU households have a broadband Internet connection, a new EU survey showed that a lack of confidence still holds many consumers back from online transactions.
Only 12 percent of EU web users feel safe making transactions on the Internet, while 39 percent of EU Internet users have major doubts about safety, and 42 percent do not dare carry out financial transactions online.
Some 65 percent of Internet users in the EU do not know where to get information and advice about cross-border shopping in the EU. A third of consumers would consider buying online from another country because it is cheaper or better, but only 7 percent actually do so.
Giving consumers clear information about their rights will increase trust and help unlock the full economic potential of Europe's single online market, worth 106 billion euros (about 142 billion U.S. dollars) in revenues, the commission said.