Admonish-Proof Web Shops

Thanks to offers from cheap providers, you can now get your web shop online quickly. However, you should meet the legal information requirements or your shop is preordained to fizzle.

What qualifies as a web shop? Any presentation in the Internet that enables you to purchase goods or render paid services to a consumer qualifies as a web shop. These are required to follow a number of rules.

Even if you are only targeting professionals, it is still a good idea to follow these rules to attract consumers. Even if do not sell anything on your website it is strongly suggested to add an imprint. The costs of an imprint are minuscule compared to the costs of being admonished.

 

The law on remote contracts requires the consumer to be informed twice on:

  • identity of the salesperson,
  • physical address of the person, business and/or organization,
  • relevant details pertaining to the goods or services as well as how the contract will be closed,
  • for permanent contracts, the minimum duration of the relationship,
  • a provision that the goods or products will either be replaced or not replaced with an equivalent – if they are unavailable at the time of request,
  • the end price of the goods or services,
  • if applicable any costs for shipping / postage and handling,
  • details on payment and shipping,
  • the right to countermand within 14 days after ordering,
  • costs for using modern communications if they exceed common basic tariffs for consumers (toll numbers like “0180…”, “0900…”, “0700”),
  • the length and renewal of the contract.

In the beginning, the consumer or service recipient needs to be informed before as well as during the closing of the contract. The second set of information will be provided after closing the contract by digitally forwarding the customer the contents of the purchased goods or services. In addition to these details, you are also to instruct your customer how to proceed in the case of reclamations. Of course, all these details can be summarized in your standard contract terms. However, the law regulates not only the contents of the information, but also the format. An example: If you instruct your customer on his right to countermand the contract in your standard terms, then this must be highlighted.

If you fail to do this, the consumer will be have one year to countermand this contract. However, do not confuse countermanding the order with reclaiming deficiencies in the product. The two have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

What happens if you do not meet all these requirements? The best and cheapest option would be that only your customer can waive the contract after a year or so. The more expensive alternative is for you to be admonished by a competitor on the grounds of unfair competition and thus subject to paying legal costs starting at € 500. A second word to these costs: You may often read in the press amounts of € 50,000 and more. This value is correct and doesn’t contradict the previously mentioned. However, it is misleading because € 50,000 refers to the “value in dispute”. Understand “value in dispute” literally and you will have an understanding. When it comes to a dispute on selling a condominium for € 50,000, then this value is clearly in dispute. In matters of unfair competition such value starts at € 50,000. If no previous agreements have been made, attorneys costs are determined by the RVG. This act determines the attorney fee for values in dispute of € 50,000 as approx. € 500.

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