Business feedback to the CCPC highlights a range of issues when using online platforms to sell to consumers
January 27, 2023
CCPC engagement with businesses who use online platforms to sell their products and services to consumers has found that many businesses have experienced difficulties. In the second half of 2022, the CCPC engaged with businesses on foot of the EU Platform-to-Business Regulation, known as the P2B Regulation, which gives businesses rights when engaging with online platforms. The aim of this engagement was to learn from businesses who use online platforms to offer their goods and services to consumers, and to raise awareness of the P2B Regulation.
Over 170 businesses provided feedback to the CCPC. These businesses operate in a range of industries including accommodation, clothing and footwear, entertainment and recreation, and restaurants, cafes and food services. Two thirds of businesses who responded make use of social media sites to offer their products, while around half use search engines and e-commerce site development tools. A number of respondents also use online travel sites and online marketplaces.
Feedback from business
Two thirds of respondents reported experience of an issue or difficulty when offering goods or services to consumers through online platforms. The most common issues were a difficulty lodging a complaint with the platform, and difficulty resolving a complaint through the platform’s complaint-handling system. Nearly half of respondents had experienced these difficulties. Unnotified changes to terms and conditions, lack of information regarding differentiated treatment, and difficulties accessing data were the next most common concerns.
The survey sought further information on situations in which a platform suspends or terminates service to a business user. Over half of respondents who had seen their service suspended or terminated had contacted the platform and managed to resolve the issue. However, a quarter were not provided with the required notice period before the termination, and a quarter were not given the required statement of reasons.
The CCPC will use its analysis of the answers provided, as well as the general feedback provided by businesses, to identify future areas of focus. Last year the CCPC engaged with the operators of 23 online platforms to improve compliance with the P2B Regulation. While online platforms are encouraged to take a proactive approach to compliance, the CCPC will continue to monitor the correct application of the P2B Regulation and will take enforcement action as necessary.
The P2B Regulation is a first step towards a fairer and more predictable online environment for businesses and consumers, with further legislative developments such as the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act coming into force. Online platforms play a critical role for many businesses who sell goods and services to consumers, and these platforms must ensure that the businesses who use them are treated fairly.
Businesses can find more information on the Platform to Business Regulation and on how to make a complaint to the CCPC.
The research is available on CCPC Platform to Business research.
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