We usually talk about a couch when describing how classifieds marketplaces work and why they’re great. Not sure why we’ve gone with a couch rather than a bookcase or a bicycle, but in any case, here’s the basic story!
You have a couch at home that you’ve used for years. It still does what it’s intended to do but you’ve had a child and need something more functional (AKA that hides stains better). Or you’ve redecorated and it doesn’t quite fit with the new furniture. It’d be a pity to throw it away. You’d like someone else to make use of what remains a great couch. You post an ad on a classifieds marketplace. Someone who lives nearby sees it and wishes to buy it. A deal is reached, and they come and pick it up the same day. You’ve given a new lease of life to an old couch that remains fit for purpose, and everyone’s happy. You’re happy that you’ve earned a bit of money and have not had to throw out your lovely old couch. The buyer is happy to have made a good deal and to have a ‘new’ couch. And the environment is happy: buying a pre-owned couch instead of a new one potentially results in lower demand for a new sofa to be manufactured, and the old couch serves a new purpose instead of heading to a landfill. This means fewer carbon emissions generated, savings of natural resources, and avoided waste handling. A win-win-win: circularity in action.
At CME, we were delighted that the landmark Digital Services Act (DSA) was voted through the European Parliament earlier this week. We were concerned at one point that we’d no longer be able to tell our story about the couch. However, we welcome the exclusion of consumer-to-consumer sales from the scope of new “know-your-business-customer” obligations. This will enable classifieds marketplaces, which have an almost exclusive local focus on customer-to-customer and second-hand goods, to continue to operate and contribute to the green transition by supporting circular consumption.
However, fair existing rules that protect users from illegal content and obligations to work with national authorities will remain in place.
Being a large regulatory package, the DSA will require effective enforcement and implementation. When enforcing the new rules for online marketplaces, especially ‘know-your-business-customer’ obligations including random checks, we urge Digital Service Coordinators, the independent authorities that will be responsible for supervising in Member States, to take into account the specificities of online classifieds marketplaces and the role they play in the circular economy.
Moreover, we encourage the European Commission to provide more detail on the methodology for calculating the number of average monthly active recipients taking into account the different business models of platforms, as well as a possible geographical scope, such as being active in at least three Member States.
But as things stand, consumers can continue to sell and buy second-hand couches on our platforms, and we can continue encouraging people to make second-hand their first choice, providing lasting positive impacts for the circular economy!
View our previous statement on the DSA following the trilogue agreement in April.