Online shopping: new EU rules for cross-border parcel delivery 

 
 

Online shoppers will benefit from greater price transparency thanks to new EU rules on cross border parcel delivery.

Online shopping could soon become easier. Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash 

Why the EU needs to act

 

Online shoppers and retailers continue to be confronted with high prices for deliveries to another EU country. Rates for parcels sent from one EU country to another can be up to five times higher than domestic prices.

 

In addition, there can be significant differences when shipping a parcel from two different  EU countries to the same destination. For example sending a 2kg parcel from Belgium to Italy would cost €32.8 while the same package sent from the Netherlands to Italy would cost €13.

 

How the current situation affects consumers and retailers

 

The lack of transparency in the sector might encourage postal operators to charge unreasonably high prices, which could also prevent small firms from trading in other EU countries. It could also stop consumers from making informed choices and from having access to a wider range of products, affecting especially those living in remote areas.

 

This is not only about online shopping. It also affects everyone sending a package to friends or relatives living in another EU country.

 

What Parliament is doing

 

On Tuesday 13 March MEPs adopted a proposal to make the cross-border parcel delivery market more transparent and competitive and to reduce the barriers consumers and e-retailers encounter when purchasing products online in the EU. 

Included in the new regulation 
  • Consumers and e-retailers will have the possibility to check the list of prices and look for the best deals on a dedicated website 
  • Courier services will have to provide customers with clear information on the delivery prices and conditions 
  • National postal authorities will collect data from shipping companies to monitor the market and assess unreasonably high tariffs 

Next steps

 

MEPs are pushing for the European Commission to assess the progress made once the new rules have entered into force and decide if further measures are necessary.