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ACM compels online store vidaXL to improve the availability of its customer service

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has reprimanded online store vidaXL for the poor availability of its customer service. ACM has received reports from consumers about this issue through its consumer information portal ACM ConsuWijzer. VidaXL offers a wide range of essential household items and DIY products online. VidaXL has promised ACM to improve the availability of its customer service (phone, email, and chat). ACM finds it important that the customer service of any online store can be reached easily. For consumers, this is often the only way to reach an online store when they have questions or complaints, or to exercise their consumer rights.

Availability of customer service of online stores

Consumers reported that they had difficulties reaching vidaXL’s customer service, or that they were not able to reach it at all. ACM reprimanded vidaXL for this availability issue. VidaXL subsequently implemented several changes in order to improve its customer service. In the not too distant future, vidaXL will inform ACM about the results of its efforts to improve the quality of its customer service.

Online stores are required to be available and approachable for questions and complaints from their customers. They have to indicate on their websites in what ways consumers are able to contact them if these consumers wish to exercise their rights such as returning their purchases or filing a complaint. Online stores must offer consumers the opportunity to contact them directly and effectively. They must be able to engage in direct personal contact via at least two different communication channels. However, this requirement goes beyond merely offering the opportunity to make calls or to send emails. In practice, online stores must reply or speak to consumers within a reasonable amount of time.

Swift approach to consumer problems

ACM has many different instruments at its disposal for solving consumer problems. When selecting the right approach, ACM puts consumers first. In this case, ACM prefers to reprimand the company in order to solve the problem quickly. Through reports filed with ACM ConsuWijzer, ACM will keep monitoring whether vidaXL implements (or continue to implement) the agreed changes.