Video Games Europe reply to the public consultation for the Fitness Check of EU consumer law on digital fairness

Executive Summary

General recommendations

  • The existing consumer protection acquis continues to be fit for purpose as it provides breadth and flexibility to address more recent digital consumer concerns.
  • The 2021 Guidance to the Consumer Rights Directives should be used and tested by national authorities to address consumer concerns in the digital sphere before considering new legislation.
  • A holistic and coherent framework based on the interplay and functioning between existing and recent laws is required, considering the impact of new and forthcoming legislation on the functioning of the consumer and data protection frameworks.
  • Where needed, the Commission should develop specific guidelines and recommendations allowing businesses to determine ex ante whether the practices that they are considering are fair and compliant with the law.

Specific recommendations

  • The Commission 2021 Guidance should be revised to mirror the recent guidelines adopted by the UK Advertising Standards Authority, on advertising of in-game purchases to encourage a harmonised approach across the European region and to provide clarity to consumers and businesses as regards the use of in-game currencies.
  • National authorities should use the Commission 2021 Notice to ensure that transparency regarding the probability of obtaining specific items from paid content with randomised elements apply to all market players.
  • Parental choice allows for active participation in children’s digital activities, instead of passively relying on default settings. All parental and family tools must allow for flexibility in their usage. There is a danger that default settings to manage spending and screen time could be counter-productive, leading to the disengagement of parents from their children’s online activities. VIDEO GAMES EUROPE recommends Member States to prioritise education and awareness raising of existing tools towards parents and other relevant stakeholders such as schools.