European Union countries from this week must begin to implement stricter consumer protection rules, including restrictions on the use of bots to harvest tickets for concerts or sporting and events.
The laws, which also include facets such as collecting personal data and accurate pricing reductions, are from an EU directive that will be rolled out in every country in the bloc over the next two years.
EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourova, said, according to international news agency AFP, it aims to rein in “rogue traders and online tricksters.”
The rules will ban traders from using automated online bots to buy thousands of tickets for concerts or sporting events and then resell them at inflated prices, as well as banning traders from having fake consumer reviews posted on their websites.
Other protections include giving consumers information about online marketplace adverts on search results, and informing users when the price they are given online is based on their internet browsing pattern, so they know it might be higher than that offered to someone else on the same site.
The rules will impact online vendors who tap into the EU consumer market, including US companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.
EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said: “Breaking EU consumer rules on large scale may cost a company a big fine of at least four per cent of annual turnover. This will be a sufficiently dissuasive and effective penalty to prevent dishonest traders from cheating.”
Jourova added: “I strongly encourage all member states to ensure that the new rules are implemented without delay.”