Ecommerce, the new rights of those who sell services and products online

Ecommerce, the new rights of those who sell services and products online


At the end of November, the "clearance to print" from the Communications Authority (Agcom) arrived, which also clarifies in Italy the European rules on the relationship between ecommerce or intermediation platforms and commercial users. Let's talk about the community regulation 1150 of 2019, called P2B in technical jargon. Platform to business. Because it takes care of setting limits in the relationship between the large platforms that act as search engines, such as Google, or intermediaries in online business, such as Amazon for ecommerce, Booking for hospitality or Tripadvisor for restaurants, and companies who use them. Two years ago, with regulation 1150, the European Commission wanted to put on paper a series of obligations for web giants: transparency on ranking mechanisms, on obscuring a profile, on the advantages of sponsorship.

And now Agcom has implemented the rules too. In the resolution of the authority, platforms are required to make the terms and conditions of their contracts easily available, clear and transparent. Even for those who haven't signed up for the service yet, but are interested. Any modification must be announced at least fifteen days in advance, if not more in case of radical and complex changes.

The rules

The Commission wants platforms to clarify in advance the reasons that lead them to suspend an account. And to put on paper the reasons for a blockade, when they carry it out. Data, a succulent fruit that is tempting even for companies to decipher trends or understand how their online products are performing, must be shared by the big names, who until now had made it their own good. As well as the parameters of the ranking, the fish to fry for those who sell goods or services online. Because you just need to slip one step in the ranking to disappear from the radar of potential customers. The Commission has identified 101 parameters that can influence the ranking, asking platforms to make explicit the variables they use and clarify their weights. And if it is enough to buy a little advertising to have a place in the spotlight, it must be declared.

Finally, there is the complaints chapter. That the platforms must manage internally, setting up an accessible and efficient desk. If that's not enough, you need to go through online mediation before going to court. The regulation requires the platforms to find at least two partners to manage the mediation. A discussion table is also envisaged to apply the regulation.

Vertical agreements

Another move by Europe concerns the regulation of vertical agreements. The Commission has updated its rules on agreements between companies at different levels of a production or distribution chain. The new regime, which updates the previous one dated 2010, will remain in force until 2034 and until June 1 next year provides for a transition phase to allow companies to update their agreements.

“ We are in a new phase, compared to the previous context, characterized by a digital ecosystem - says the lawyer Domenico Gullo, of the Dla Piper law firm -. We start from the assumption of the existence of a dual distribution, online and offline ”. For this reason, specific rules are envisaged for online intermediaries, the non-competition obligations are extended and forms of active and passive sales are distinguished. “ The attempt is to create a more balanced system - continues Gullo -. The theme of attention to sustainability is also introduced".

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