Sales on the Internet, sales in store, what are the differences?

The balances on the Internet and in the shops how every two Wednesday. But consumers are more protected during sales on the Internet.

The sales start in the shops of Tarbes, photo by Stéphane Boularand (c)

The 2023 winter sales start on Wednesday at 8 a.m. Except for a few border departments such as Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle and in the Vosges where the winter sales have already started a week ago. Four weeks of sales which should start with strong discounts because sales were quite disappointing with weather that was not conducive to sales with autumn temperatures too high to sell the autumn-winter collection. Products that have remained in stock that traders need to sell to make room for the next collection. A start of the sales which is also a good opportunity to give some advice and to remind you of the framework in which this high point of the sales season takes place for shops and e-commerce websites.

The common points between sales on the Internet and sales in store

Whether in store or on the Internet, the sales are defined by the same texts: law on the modernization of the economy of August 4, 2008 which determines the dates and orders that followed, what can be sold, prices and guarantees.

What can be sold: the law on the modernization of the economy specifies that the products on sale must have been offered for sale and paid for at least one month from the date of the start of the sales period.

The prices: the labels must mention the reference price crossed out and the discount in absolute value or in percentage. The reference price may not exceed the lowest price actually charged by the advertiser for a similar item or service, in the same retail establishment or distance selling site, during the last thirty days preceding the start of advertising. The reference price thus defined may be kept in the event of price reductions announced successively during the same commercial operation, within the limit of one month from the first price reduction announcement, or during same period of sales or liquidation according to the decree of December 31, 2008. Suffice to say that it is complex to control and therefore many sites do not always respect this constraint. Beware of false discounts.

Warranty: items purchased on sale benefit from the same warranties as other items. The announcement “neither taken back nor exchanged” does not therefore exempt the seller from exchanging or refunding the item in the event of a hidden defect according to article 1641 of the Civil Code. This therefore excludes items whose imperfections or poor workmanship are easily detectable by the consumer.

The differences between online sales and in-store sales

What differentiates sales in stores and sales on the Internet is that the latter are subject to the rules of distance selling. In this context, customers have a withdrawal period. It is the possibility for the consumer to change his mind about his purchase which can be exercised before or 14 days after delivery. Except for certain specific products defined by thearticle L221-28 which includes, for example, the purchase of clearly personalized items, food or items unsealed by the consumer after delivery and which cannot be returned for reasons of hygiene or health protection. Apart from these special cases, the neither taken back nor exchanged cannot therefore apply to sales on the Internet because the customer must be able to exchange his item or be reimbursed, without penalty and without having to justify his decision.

In the event of a dispute, the consumer may refer to the competent mediator after having attempted to settle the dispute directly according to thearticle L612-1 of the consumer code. The contact details of the mediator must appear “visibly and legibly on the merchant website, on its general conditions of sale, on the order forms or, in the absence of such media, by any other appropriate means. (article R616-1). If mediation does not lead to an amicable solution, the consumer can take legal action.

So in addition to allowing shops to be browsed at digital speed and offering a choice beyond the reach of shops, the regulation of sales on the Internet is more protective for the consumer since they are under the crossfire of the regulations on sales and those of distance selling.

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Sales on the Internet, sales in store, what are the differences?

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