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Consumer to force Alibaba portal to honor EU shoppers’ rights

A logo of Alibaba Group is seen at an exhibition during the World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin, China-May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – the Consumer organisations of Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, austria, Portugal and Spain on Friday, urged their national consumer protection agencies to take action against Alibaba’s online shopping portal for allegedly setting unfair terms for EU-users.

The complaints against the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s AliExpress came to a similar complaint by the Italian consumer body to its national authority earlier this year, wants the issue to be addressed at European level.

The groups of consumers want online shopping portal AliExpress, which sells goods from Chinese retailers and competes with the AMERICAN online retailer Amazon, to conform to the EU legislation for the protection of consumers.

“We call on the protection of the consumer authorities to look urgently into this issue and to take action,” the European consumer body, BEUC director-general Monique Goyens said in a statement.

“Online platforms to link sellers from outside of Europe are more and more popular, but the respect of the rights of the consumer is not negotiable,” she said.

The six bodies, which are part of BEUC network, are concerned about a provision in AliExpress’ terms and conditions, which refers to disputes arising between a seller and a buyer of a Hong Kong arbitration court.

EU rules say that the EU consumers have the right to take legal action before a court in their own country.

Another concern is that the consumers do not return goods without giving a reason, within 14 days, again a violation of the laws of the EU. The seller is obligated to provide a minimum of two years statutory warranty, is not mentioned, while conditions are not always elaborated in the national language of the country.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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