Small online players better protected against internet giants

6 December 2018

Small online players will receive more resources to defend themselves and ask for fair treatment when they become involved with internet giants. That was the decision of the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee. Online rankings, distortions of competition and complaints services need to be much more transparent. MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt, as chair of that committee, was closely involved in drafting the new legislation. “The online economy cannot be like the Wild West,” says Anneleen Van Bossuyt.

Chatbots and frequently asked questions

Merchants operating on a platform often have difficulty finding contact details or obtaining information. “If you offer a stay on a platform such as Airbnb, it should be easy to contact customer service if your ad is taken offline or if you get the wrong review. With this legislation, platforms can no longer hide behind chatbots or frequently asked questions,” explains MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt.

Freedom of the small business owner

The new rules emphasise the freedom of the small business owner. “In the past, it was very difficult for smaller players to negotiate certain conditions. It was David versus Goliath. With this legislation, certain absurd situations are being rectified. For example, small hotels can set their own prices on their own websites and are no longer bound by platforms such as,” clarifies Anneleen Van Bossuyt.

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