Name of Private Regulator:
Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing (FEDMA)
Remove barriers to e-commerce cross-border services through common rules on commercial communication; Create the trust and confidence needed for the development of e-commerce; Minimise the need for legal restrictions. In order to remove barriers to the development of cross-border services within the Community which members of the regulated professions might offer on the Internet, it is necessary that compliance be guaranteed at Community level with professional rules aiming, in particular, to protect consumers or public health.
The EU has considered that codes of conduct at Community level would be the best means of determining the rules on professional ethics applicable to commercial communication; the drawing-up or, where appropriate, the adaptation of such rules should be encouraged without prejudice to the autonomy of professional bodies and associations. Therefore the Directive (article 8.2) provides that Member States and the Commission should "encourage the drawing-up of codes of conduct; this is not to impair the voluntary nature of such codes and the possibility for interested parties of deciding freely whether to adhere to such codes."
It also provides (article 8.3) that, when drawing up proposals for Community initiatives which may become necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the Internal Market with regard to the information given for the purposes of commercial communication, the Commission shall take due account of codes of conduct applicable at Community level and shall act in close cooperation with the relevant professional associations and bodies.
Article 10. 2 Information to be provided Member States shall ensure that, except when otherwise agreed by parties who are not consumers, the service provider indicates any relevant codes of conduct to which he subscribes and information on how those codes can be consulted electronically. The Directive also seeks to facilitate the setting up of effective, alternative cross-border on-line dispute settlement systems.
Article 17 Out-of-court dispute settlement: Member States shall ensure that, in the event of disagreement between an information society service provider and the recipient of the service, their legislation does not hamper the use of out-of-court schemes, available under national law, for dispute settlement, including appropriate electronic means. Member States shall encourage bodies responsible for the out-of-court settlement of, in particular, consumer disputes to operate in a way which provides adequate procedural guarantees for the parties concerned. Member States shall encourage bodies responsible for out-of-court dispute settlement to inform the Commission of the significant decisions they take regarding information society services and to transmit any other information on the practices, usages or customs relating to electronic commerce.
The code of conduct set up by FEDMA in 2000 is part of the wider FEDMA initiative "Ring of Confidence", whose overall aim is to establish a comprehensive self-regulatory system for e-commerce. The code, which is based on existing international, European and national codes, and relevant European Union regulations, covers commercial offers, contractual information, the need for financial security, data protection, the protection of children, redress mechanisms, monitoring and enforcement.The code is intended as both a stand-alone European code for FEDMA's members and any other organisation doing business by e-commerce, as well as a basis for national codes operated by the direct marketing associations.
The Code contains provisions on the following: Operational Transparency; Commercial Offers and Contractual Information; Commercial Communications; Transactional Security; Data Protection and Consumer Privacy; Protection of Children; Redress Mechanism; Monitoring and Enforcement; Applicable Law.