For years, internet trading in Germany has been constantly increasing. Smaller as well as larger corporations often think that the mere translation of their website into German is enough in order to perform e-commerce in Germany. In order to be able to legally participate at e-commerce, various requirements, which the German legislator as well as the German jurisdiction require and which are subject to constant change, have to be fulfilled. Only the continuous examination of one’s own website with the applicable law makes it possible to avoid high penalties or warranties, which are connected to high fines.
The following regulations are subject to constant change:
Every commercial web presence on the internet obliges the entrepreneur to recognize the service providers (so called “imprint obligation“). Without exception, every seller has to make the name and address of his company available; depending on the legal form of a company, various other information have to be published as well. As long as the company itself is a legal entity, the company registration number and the authorized representative of the company have to be stated too.
The question concerning the right of revocation is always an up to date one. Every seller in the EU is obligated to inform the consumer about the applicable right of revocation. Moreover, he has to provide the consumer with a corresponding sample-revocation.
The seller is obligated to provide the consumer with a contract confirmation after the conclusion of the contract. The terms and conditions in relation to B2C contracts have to be published on the website or have to be sent to the consumer along with the contract confirmation.
Likewise in the field of online trade, the regulations in relation to competition, advertisement or price regulation (“Preisangabenordnung”) are applicable. Particular significance is given to questions about the German law against unfair competition (UWG), which also contains conditions for online-advertisement. Online advertisement which is directly transmitted to the consumer is forbidden as long as the consumer does not expressly consent or the advertiser can prove that:
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