Six members of the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) network, a group which defends the interests of European consumers, are urging their national authorities to take action against the online retailer AliExpress for having terms which they say break European Union (EU) law.
AliExpress links sellers from outside of Europe with European consumers and the six consumer organizations claim that the retailer uses “several problematic clauses in its terms and conditions with EU consumers.”
The consumer organizations say that some of the main problems with the AliExpress terms and conditions are that:
- If there is a dispute between a consumer and a seller on the platform and no amicable settlement is found, the dispute must go to a Hong Kong arbitration court
- Consumers cannot return a good without any justification within 14 day
- There is no mention of a minimum two-year guarantee in many of the manufacturer’s warranties
- Terms and conditions are not always provided in the consumer’s national language
The consumer organizations point out that consumers have a right to take legal action before a court in their own country so the requirement for disputes to be handled by a Hong Kong arbitration court is breaking EU law. They add that the other clauses listed also circumvent EU consumer’s rights.
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The six consumer organizations, Altroconsumo (Italy), Consumentenbond (The Netherlands), DECO (Portugal), OCU (Spain), Test Achats/Test Aankoop (Belgium), and UFC-Que Choisir (France), have written to their national authorities asking them to investigate these clauses and take action to stop them.
The BEUC adds that it has also written to the network of national consumer authorities (the Consumer Protection Cooperation network) and asked it to take against action against AliExpress
together with its members urges them to investigate the AliExpress terms and conditions that violate EU consumer’s rights.
In addition to this call for action from the BEUC and its members, the German consumer federation Verbraucherzentrale says that it is also considering taking legal action against AliExpress.
This call for action from these consumer organizations follows Union Luxembourgeoise des Consommateurs (Luxembourg) filing a complaint against AliExpress with its national authorities earlier this year.