Selling on the Internet: enhanced consumer protection

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The information that a professional must communicate to a consumer in the event of distance selling is specified and reinforced, according to a decree dated March 25, 2022. This is the last element of the transposition in France of a European directive relating to the modernization of consumer protection, which comes into force on May 28, 2022.

In the event of distance selling, on the Internet or outside a store, the prior information that a consumer must receive from the seller is reinforced, according to a decree dated March 25, 2022.

The list includes 15 obligations to be respected, instead of 6 previously. Among the most important are:

  • 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 conditions of termination, for contracts of indefinite duration or tacit renewal, as well as the duration of these;
  • 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.

On the other hand, the withdrawal form, which must be provided and whose model is strictly defined, must in particular include the electronic address of the supplier, which was not previously necessary.

This decree is the last element of application of Ordinance No. 2021-1734 of December 22, 2021, transposing into French law the European directive of November 27, 2019, relating to the modernization of consumer protection.

Its provisions will enter into force on May 28, 2022. They aim to strengthen consumer protection, particularly in cross-border transactions, which are increasingly numerous in Internet sales, by improving the prior information that must be communicated to the buyer and increasing penalties for violations.

Warranties should be clearly stated, as should previous prices in discount advertisements. Unfair terms and false consumer opinions are more severely punished as misleading commercial practices.

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Selling on the Internet: enhanced consumer protection

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