Coronavirus: EU Consumer Protection authorities and the Commission complete checks to protect consumers from scams online

Today, the European Commission and the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC Network) published the results of the second high-level screenings on coronavirus scams, carried out in June, following the Commission’s call to fight coronavirus-related misleading products and adverts. This follows on from the high-level screening of platforms carried out in May. Among 73 checks of major platforms, one-third (23 checks) found a significant number of dubious offers and advertisements. These companies were informed about the overall findings and gave updated reports on the measures they have been taking to tackle the issue. Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said: “Major online platforms continue to follow our call to work closely with the European Commission and national Consumer Protection Authorities. The most recent checks performed by these authorities demonstrate that it is no time to lower the guard. Cooperation among authorities and major actors of digital markets is a powerful and effective tool to protect consumers in these disruptive times.” Thanks to these activities, Google reported blocking or removing over 200 million coronavirus-related ads globally over the past months and eBay reported blocking or removing more than 31 million listings that violated their coronavirus policies. Facebook said they removed at least 2.3 million pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram worldwide related to coronavirus, with 27,000 removed within the EU during May. Most platforms reported a sharp decline in coronavirus-related product listings in the last weeks. For example, Amazon reported a 95% decrease in the weekly number of new product listings attempting to make coronavirus-related claims as compared to the March average, with Rakuten and Allegro reporting similar trends. CPC authorities will follow up on these findings and take enforcement measures where necessary and the network will continue its work on fraud topics. All information on how the Commission is working to prevent consumer scams related to coronavirus can be found here.