On Wednesday evening, MEPs and Estonian EU Council Presidency negotiators have struck a provisional deal on rules to help make cross-border parcel delivery rates fairer and more transparent.

The new rules also ensure better information is provided to consumers, so as to boost online purchases of goods and services.

“These new rules are an important element of the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy in supporting e-commerce growth as part of a modern and fair social Europe. In this context, we are confident that we will assist in securing for the parcels sector more transparency of tariffs and employment practices and a better deal for consumers and small businesses ordering cross-border parcels”, said Lucy Anderson (S&D, UK), lead negotiator for the European Parliament.

 

The rules aim to provide greater clarity of cross-border delivery prices and boost oversight by national authorities, in order to address complaints of high delivery prices by consumers and small businesses. A Eurobarometer survey identified high parcel delivery costs as a major problem for businesses and consumers when buying and selling online.

 

National authorities will be empowered to monitor cross-border delivery prices and assess those they deem unreasonably high. High cross-border parcel prices do not always reflect the underlying costs involved, according to the EU Commission.

 

Lists of tariffs will also be sent to the Commission, which will publish them on a dedicated website to enable consumers and retailers to compare the rates.

 

The new rules will apply to all the major players in the parcels industry, including e-commerce and large multinational companies.

 

A provision is also included so that when consumers order goods from another EU country they will be given specific information on prices being charged to them and the delivery options available.

 

Parcel delivery companies will give information to national regulators each year on their employment practices for people they employ to deliver parcels and on the sub-contractors that they use.

 

The Commission proposed the new rules as part of a package of measures to boost e-commerce and enable consumers and companies to buy and sell goods and services online more easily.