Rakuten, eBay… why have French sites just created a lobby?

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At a time when new regulatory obligations [de l’Europe] become applicable in France, Rakuten, eBay, Back Market, Etsy and ManoMano announce the creation on October 6, 2022 of an association to better influence future decisions around marketplaces. This new lobby, explains a press release taken up by our colleagues from the Digital Factory, must “represent the sector in the public debate and make the specificities of this segment of e-commerce known to institutional players”.

Enough to ensure that these players directly affected by European regulations can “participate more effectively in public debate, as a partner of public authorities and the ecosystem”. The first illustration of the Alliance’s action concerns the transposition of the Digital Services Act (DSA) regulation and the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD).

The French e-commerce sector forms a lobby to influence the debate in Europe

The DSA was introduced at the same time as the Digital Markets Act aims to modernize the e-commerce directive adopted in 2000. The DSA thus makes it possible to harmonize the national law of the Member States, in particular with regard to the fight against illegal content, misinformation and online advertising. Its provisions will for example replace in France the Avia Law, declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court.

A person responsible for the products sold, a point of contact responsible for product safety, must in particular be appointed by each distributor. The DSGP governs the security of the products marketed by these platforms. It defines a number of requirements for producers and distributors. Enough to ensure that the products marketed throughout Europe are safe for the consumer.

In some cases, the distributor will have to warn its customers of the potential risks associated with the products. The text also makes it possible to withdraw from sale products deemed or declared to be dangerous. If these provisions seem easy to implement on classic e-commerce sites, they raise questions for marketplaces – these marketplaces on which sellers from all over the world can sell.

Originally launched by eBay and Amazon, the marketplace concept has been emulated in France. So many sites, including Rakuten, Back Market and Mano Mano now offer part of their catalog in this way. The problem is that we have seen many abuses for several years. Not all marketplace sellers are located in Europe and do not necessarily comply with all of its rules.

In addition to the non-payment of taxes, the DGCRF noted in October 2021 that on average, 60% of products sold via marketplaces are non-compliant or counterfeit products. The most reported products are toys, costume jewelry and electrical and electronic appliances.

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