About 50 million Germans have bought goods or services online in 2015. In the category of B2C e-commerce sales, Germany is in the Top 10 in Europe. Why not conquer this market, too? But if your business wants to enter the German market, then there’s no getting around Germany’s consumer protection laws…
Information Requirements in Germany
A high level of consumer protection in distance contracts is in effect across the entire European Union. To protect consumers of thoughtless orders, numerous information has to be provided by traders prior to the conclusion of an online purchase. Before the consumer is bound by a contract, the trader shall provide the consumer with the following information in a clear and comprehensible manner:
- the main characteristics of the goods or services,
- the identity of the trader, such as his trading name, the geographical address at which
he is established and his telephone number,
- the total price of the goods or services including taxes,
- the arrangements for payment, delivery, performance, the time in which it takes the
trader to deliver the goods or to perform the service,
- the right of withdrawal, such as length, procedure, costs and effects of the withdrawal
by the use of a standard consumer withdrawal form.
Moreover, data protection plays a very important role in online retail. On the basis of data protection law, traders are obliged to inform visitors of their online presence about data collection, processing and use of personal data. Attention should be paid to marking and labeling of products (e.g. electrical products, foods, toys, textile products) and youth protection laws, too.
A Practical Tip
Standard Business Terms aim to regulate the formation and important conditions of a contract, such as liability or choice of law. Although the use of such general terms and conditions is not obligatory in Germany, they can bundle the above-mentioned information and are therefore advantageous.
Legally Secured Trade within Germany
Through a harmonization of the legal framework on consumer rules for the sale of goods, services and digital content is in effect within the European Union, there is a little idiosyncrasy to consider when addressing German consumers.
The disregard or misinterpretation of the above-mentioned information could cause expensive written warnings by competitors or consumer protection associations, which is a characteristic of the German market. Breaching these laws can result in legal action as well as possible temporary injunctions too. The specialized legal advice in all areas of online and cross-border trade is therefore recommended.
About the Initiatives of the Händlerbund
The Händlerbund provides all the necessary and legally secure texts for over 50 sales platforms including Amazon and eBay. The Händlerbund guarantees traders, as part of the membership, unlimited access to professional legal advice – whether via telephone or e-mail – at no extra cost.
In addition Händlerbund, as an association of interests represents its members with regard to politics and industry. In this way, online retailers obtain the best possible framework conditions for successful trading on the Internet.
With its office service solution, trained e-commerce personnel take care of all your office services via telephone support and e-mail, whether it’s taking orders, processing complaints or just general customer inquiries. In case a translation is needed for product descriptions or website content, the Händlerbund provides, with telbes translations, the corresponding support. In addition, Händlerbund provides a huge range of training possibilities, e.g. our own Händlerbund Academy and fact sheets.
Become a member of Händlerbund, visit: https://www.haendlerbund.de/en