Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Andrej Savin and Jan Trzaskowski
Chapter 15: Information requirements overload? Assessing disclosure duties under the E-commerce Directive, Services Directive and Consumer Directive
Believe it or not, but in 1994 the first commercial website ever was Pizzahut.com. Some 20 years later a generation has grown up only downloading movies and music, almost continuously communicating words and pictures, and has never had anything other than e-tickets for planes, trains and the theatre. Travel agencies were one of the first businesses to suffer from the success of e-commerce. Video rentals, CD stores, and book stores have also diminished seriously. Commerce is definitely an area that has changed due to the introduction of the Internet, and clearly shows the shift from the physical to the virtual world that so many aspects of society are undergoing. Government was not at the forefront of tuning into the developments towards an information society, but commerce via the Internet got the government’s interest right from the start. The European Union is no exception to that. European Union e-commerce regulation started even before it was known what e-commerce entailed or could become. The legislative process of the Distance Selling Directive was initiated in 1991, so at a time when the general public did not have access to the Internet. The aim of these e-commerce rules ‘avant la lettre’ was to protect consumers when buying at a distance. A major concern in these days were ‘Tell Sell advertisements’, where, in the middle of the night, customers ordered all sort of products promoted by types likes Mike ‘It's Amaaaazing’ Levey.
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