On June 13, 2014 the Consumer Rights Directive will be incorporated in the Dutch Civil Code. As from that date there will be new rules for every entrepreneur offering products or services online, at a distance, to consumers, for example through an online store. What should you keep in mind if you have a webshop?
Duty to provide information
Each webshop owner has an extensive obligation to provide information. Prior to the conclusion of an agreement with a consumer, you must provide sufficient, clear and comprehensible information on, inter alia:
In addition, in the order process you must communicate clearly visible and prominent near the order-button that the consumer takes on a payment obligation by concluding the agreement. You could do this, for example, by including an order-button with the text “order with payment obligation”.
Furthermore, it is not allowed to let the consumer buy additional products or services by pre-filled tick boxes (“opt-out”). The consumer must expressly agree with the purchase of additional products or services, for example, by checking the box himself (“opt-in”).
The right of withdrawal
Under the new regulations, the consumer is entitled to withdraw from the contract within 14 calendar days (instead of 7 working days).
The right of withdrawal means that the consumer has a trial period (no try term) of 14 days within he may decide to cancel the agreement. If the consumer uses this right, he will have 14 calendar days to return the product.
In some cases, the consumer has no right of withdrawal, for example when it comes to the supply of a product that has been manufactured to the consumer’s specifications or in the case of the supply of products that spoil quickly or have a limited shelf life.
A webshop owner must extensively inform the consumer about the right of withdrawal. The following information must be provided:
To meet the first three requirements, you can use the model instructions on withdrawal (modelinstructies bij herroeping) that are given as an example in the European Directive. However, you are not required to use these model instructions. You can provide this information in any other way. However, the model withdrawal form (mentioned above under point 4) must be provided to the consumer.
When you do not inform the consumer, or inform him insufficiently, this could have the following consequences:
In addition, supervisor Authority for Consumers and Markets (“Autoriteit Consument en Markt”) can take measures and for example impose a fine.
The new legislation for webshops is of mandatory law, meaning there can not be derogated from this legislation to the detriment of the consumer.
In order to comply with the new legislation in due time – that means before June 13, 2014 – you will need to check your webshop, order process and your general terms and conditions and make adjustments if necessary. We are pleased to help you. If you have any questions about the new rules, please contact Floor de Roos or our International Desk attorneys.