In 2016, 36 million French people used the Internet to make their purchases and of course it will be the same for the holiday season 2017, since 86% of them plebiscite shopping on the web.
But 20% of them admit having encountered difficulties or had a dispute with their e-merchant. So what are the rules applicable to online sales and what can be done to avoid pitfalls?
Which rules are applicable to online commerce?
Commercial sites selling goods or services on the Internet are subject to similar regulations as distance selling (VPC) which includes both reporting obligations to protect consumers, as well as mandatory information and specific rules. prospecting. They come from many of the Hamon law of March 17, 2014.
The online merchant is therefore required to comply with many obligations, including those relating to the collection and protection of your personal data:
> collect the agreement of the customers;
> inform customers of their right to access, modify and delete the information collected;
> ensure the security of information systems and the confidentiality of customer data;
> indicate a data retention period.
The online merchant is not authorized to send a commercial email without the agreement of the recipient, given at the time of the collection of the email, unless:
> the person is already a client and the prospecting concerns products identical to those already provided;
> Prospecting is not commercial in nature (eg, charitable).
In both cases, the customer must, at the time of collection of his address, be informed of its use for a possible prospection, and be able to oppose it.
In addition, the order must be made in three mandatory steps:
> you must be able to visualize the detail of your order and its total price,
> it must be possible to correct any errors;
> the order must finally be confirmed
Additional options included by default are prohibited. You should not find pre-ticked boxes, such as with a cancellation insurance.
The following information must also appear clearly on the site:
> the languages proposed for the conclusion of the contract;
> how to archive the order if it exceeds 120 euros;
> the means of consulting the professional and commercial rules to which the seller is subject.
Warning: these terms do not apply to contracts for the supply of goods or services concluded exclusively by exchange of e-mails.
The site manager is fully responsible for the performance of the contract concluded remotely (including delivery), unless the poor performance is attributable to the buyer, a third party, or a case of force majeure.
The seller must immediately send an email acknowledgment of receipt of the sale and must also send you an invoice upon delivery.
Payment can be made when ordering or delivery against a refund (in this case extra charges may apply).
The seller can offer different types of payment: encrypted payment, credit card (CB), electronic purse, SMS etc.
In case of dispute or fraudulent use, the merchant must assume the costs of the sale and the customer is not responsible if the payment was made remotely without physical use of the credit card. In the event of a claim, it must have been filed within 70 days from the date of the disputed transaction.
The sums are credited to the account of the cardholder or returned without charge, one month at the latest from the receipt of the dispute.
What are the rules for delivery?
Delivery must occur no later than 30 days after the online order.
The provider of distance goods or services, other than financial services, must indicate, before the conclusion of the contract, the deadline by which it undertakes to deliver the goods or to perform the service.
Without mention of the contract, the goods must be delivered or the service performed as soon as the contract is concluded.
In case of late delivery or delivery, the supplier must inform you and you can ask to be refunded within 30 days of payment.
The refund will then be made in full, including return postage, if the package arrives after the withdrawal.
You do not have to accept a certain method of repayment (to have on a future purchase for example).
Retraction and return
Like any consumer of VPC, you have a right of withdrawal of 14 days from the next day when you enter into possession of the property or accept the offer for a service, without justification or payment of penalties. your charge a return charge.
This right of withdrawal also applies to products sold, used or destocking.
When concluding the contract, you must be informed of the terms of the right of withdrawal: duration of the period, starting point, refund of the product, payment of the costs of return, etc.
The trader must communicate to the consumer, before the conclusion of the contract, a withdrawal form.
The reimbursement of all amounts paid, including delivery costs, must be made within 14 days from the moment the professional is informed of the client’s decision to retract.
Provided this is clearly stated at the time of purchase, some products or services are not subject to the right of withdrawal and can not be refunded:
> well made especially for the consumer (tailor-made for example);
> product that can not be re-shipped by nature;
> perishable product (food for example);
> video cassettes, CDs, DVDs, if opened by the consumer;
> press (newspapers, periodicals or magazines);
> provision of accommodation, transportation, food and recreation services.
Of course, the seller can offer you a longer withdrawal period.
Return of the product in case of non-conformity
The seller is required to take back an item in case of delivery not in accordance with the order or if the product is defective.
You must then return it in its original packaging, stating the reason for refusal on the delivery note or invoice, the costs being borne by the seller, and you may require:
> a new delivery respecting the order;
> the repair of the defective product;
> the exchange of the product by another similar or
> the cancellation of the order (with reimbursement of sums paid with a possible claim for damages in case of damage).
This compliance warranty is free and you can not be asked to pay for repair or replacement fees
The e-merchant must ensure this legal guarantee of conformity that allows the consumer to choose between exchange and repair, in case of manufacturing defect or failure of a new product, for two years. The professional is required to respond to this request within a maximum of one month.
How to avoid the pitfalls
Privilege the sites of known professionals, major retailers or e-traders with a label.
Similarly, French sites allow easier remedies in case of problems (but be careful that the site is in French or uses the extension “.fr” does not mean that the site is French).
The lack of contact details of the seller or incomplete mandatory information should alert you. Check the delivery and return conditions of the defective products.
At the time of payment, pay attention to pre-filled boxes and hidden costs (customs duties, VAT). Above all, check that the payment is secure and that the address of the site in the navigation bar starts with “https” with the image of a small padlock.
Of course, never give your credit card code outside these secure sites.