The EU Platform to Business (P2B) Regulation (2019/1150), which aims to promote fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services, will come into force in all EU Member States and in the UK (in accordance with the Brexit transition agreements) on 12 July 2020.
Who does the P2B Regulation apply to?
The Regulation will apply to all online intermediary service providers (i.e. online platforms and search engines) which provide their services to business users established in the EU where those businesses offer goods or services to consumers located in the EU, regardless of where the platform itself is situated.
The key targets of the Regulation are online e-commerce marketplaces, app stores, price comparison websites, online social media services and general online search engines as well as online travel and hospitality platforms such as online travel agencies, fare aggregators and meta search engines.
What does the P2B Regulation require?
The P2B Regulation has a number of requirements – some key ones include:
- B2B terms and conditions: These must be drafted in plain and intelligible language, and business users must be given a minimum of 15 days’ notice of any changes to the terms and conditions.
- Increased transparency: Platforms must explain the main parameters used to rank products and/or services on the platform, including a description of any preferential treatment given to the platform’s own products and services. In addition, if a platform terminates or suspends a business user’s account, it must give at least 30 days’ notice and provide reasons for the termination or suspension along with details of how to appeal. Platforms must also disclose what data they collect and how they use this data.
- Dispute resolution: Platforms need to establish an internal complaint handling system to enable business users to lodge complaints directly with the platform in relation to issues which adversely affect the business user, including technical platform issues and non-compliance with the P2B Regulation. Platforms will also be required to publish information on this system annually and identify mediators to whom a complainant can seek address. Note that the P2B Regulation does not affect either party’s right to issue formal legal proceedings in the courts.
What action do affected businesses need to take?
- Review and amend B2B terms and conditions to ensure compliance with the P2B Regulation and notify business users of any changes.
- Identify what data is collected from business users and establish a clear data policy.
- Establish a clear process for restricting, suspending and terminating a business user’s account.
- Design and implement a procedure for changing B2B terms and conditions, and notifying business users of such changes.
- Establish an internal complaints-handling system.
- Select and appoint two mediators.
What are the consequences of non-compliance?
- The Regulation does not stipulate any sanctions as it will be left to the discretion of Member States to implement measures that are “effective, proportionate and dissuasive.”
- Non-compliance will render certain provisions within platform’s terms null and void. For example, failing to provide the correct notice for changes in terms and conditions may mean that such changes are unenforceable.
- Although the Regulation establishes new dispute resolution mechanisms, businesses are still able to commence litigation and therefore platforms should not rule out the possibility of a potential damages claim.
How we can help
We can help you to draft, review and/or amend B2B platform terms and conditions, and design and implement an appropriate data policy. We also have qualified mediators at our firm and can provide the required mediation services where appropriate.