Sales on the internet: misleading promotions, false opinions… these new measures which must protect consumers

In force since Saturday May 28, the European “Omnibus” directive on the modernization of consumer protection specifies the conditions of distance selling and in particular on the internet.

Shopping online. The practice is becoming widespread and many French people who have long been reluctant to consume on the internet have taken the plunge. However, caution is called for as there are many traps on the web: false promotions, bogus opinions left on a product, door-to-door sales…

Faced with these abuses, the European Omnibus Directive has been strengthening consumer protection since Saturday May 28. Here’s what to remember.

The end of fake online promotions

This is one of the main changes provided for in the decree. In order to avoid the artificially inflated promotions that we see flourishing especially during Black Friday, sellers will have to take as their promotion reference price “their lowest price over a period of 30 days preceding the reduction.”

Lawyer specializing in new technologies, Arnaud Touati gives for challenge a specific example. “Today, what some traders do is they start from a computer that came out at a price of 1,500 euros. Three months later, the price of the computer has dropped to 1,200 euros. But at Black On Friday, traders will sell it at 1,000 euros, claiming that it is a 33% reduction, because they are based on the 1,500 euros.” This will no longer be possible now.

The fight against fake consumer reviews

This is the other scourge of online merchant sites. Many consumers rely on the opinions left by their peers to choose the products they will buy. But how do you know by whom these opinions were published?

From now on, merchant sites will have to check that they have indeed been written by Internet users who have used or purchased the product in question. “They will also be required to specify whether the seller is a professional or not and whether a “capital link” exists between them and him, complete Family file. In addition, e-commerce sites that apply “personalized prices” based on purchasing behavior will have to clearly indicate this.

As our colleagues from Slate indicate, this decree also prohibits “the presentation of a ranking of results without warning the consumer that a third party paid for their product to get a better place.”

For any breach of these new rules, sellers expose themselves to fines of up to 300,000 euros or 4% of their company’s turnover.

The other main obligations to respect for online sales

The decree also contains a list of 15 obligations to be respected, instead of 6 previously and which should allow better supervision of practices. the official site of the French administration details the main ones:

  • the identification of the seller: name or company name, address of the establishment, telephone number, email address, address and identity of the professional on whose behalf he is acting;
  • the means guarantee the consumer to be able to keep his written exchanges with the professional on a durable medium, including the date and time of these exchanges;
  • the terms of payment, delivery and performance provided for in the contract;
  • the procedures for handling complaints;
  • the legal guarantee of conformity, the guarantee against hidden defects and any other applicable legal guarantee;
  • commercial warranty and after-sales service;
  • the termination conditions, for open-ended or tacitly renewable contracts, as well as their duration;
  • for digital content and services, the functionality of the goods concerned, their compatibility and interoperability, as well as the applicable technical protection measures;
  • the contact details of the mediator(s) to whom the consumer can contact;
  • the cost of remote communication for the conclusion of the contract when this cost differs from the basic tariff;
  • any codes of conduct applicable to the contract and the means of obtaining a copy;
  • the minimum duration of the consumer’s contractual obligations;
  • any deposit and other financial guarantees owed by the consumer.

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Sales on the internet: misleading promotions, false opinions… these new measures which must protect consumers


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