The EU Commission has finalised its proposal for a new regulation to promote fairness and transparency for business users of online services. For the final text of the proposed regulation click here. The European Council is now examining the proposal.

The EU Commission is concerned that online service providers which act as intermediators of business to customer relationships may engage in unfair trading practices.

  • The proposed regulation will apply to online platforms and search engines that provide their services to business and corporate users established in the EU, where those businesses offer goods or services to consumers located in the EU. The regulation will apply to search engines and platforms irrespective of where they are established (Article 1).
  • Online service providers will be required to change their T&Cs to disclose specific information for their business users, including:
    • A 15 day minimum notice period for changes to the T&Cs (Article 3).
    • The reasons why an online service provider may suspend / terminate access (Article 4).
    • The main parameters for ranking how businesses are listed and if the business can pay to change the ranking (Article 5).
    • Transparency about preferential treatment given to the platform's own services (Article 6).
    • A description of the technical and contractual access the business will have to personal data provided by customers using the platform. Also, if the online service provider itself has access to that data (Article 7).
    • Any restrictions imposed on the business which restrict the business from selling via other channels (Article 8).
    • How complaints from the business users are dealt with and mediation services available (Articles 9, 10 and 11).
  • Trade bodies and other representative organisations will be able to take action against platforms and search engines for failure to comply with the regulations (Article 12).
  • The Commission will also encourage the development of industry codes of conduct to contribute to the proper application of the regulations (Article 13).

For our previous alert on the proposed regulation click here.