Order button – what needs to be considered?

The current German regulation for e-commerce clearly aims to simplify the conclusion and termination of online contracts to the greatest extent possible.

This is clearly evidenced by the introduction of an obligation to provide an order and cancel button on the entrepreneur’s website. In addition, the European Union wants to change this further by introducing a withdrawal button for all distance contracts. In this article, we will present the regulation of the first of the above-mentioned buttons, i.e. the order button. The so-called button solution is intended to ensure that the consumer knows and can easily recognise whether he has placed an order subject to a charge. In order to avoid warnings and to be able to effectively conclude a distance contract with customers, every entrepreneur who operates an online shop should comply with the applicable requirements of this regulation.

How should the order button look like?

The “button solution” is the result of a lengthy debate on protecting consumers from hidden commitments when ordering online. The legislator obliged entrepreneurs who operate an online shop to introduce a clearly labelled order button, which has the character of a warning signal. By clicking on the button, users unequivocally agree to place a chargeable order. This button must be clearly labelled, with the phrase “order with obligation to pay” being the standard description. The other phrases should also clearly indicate the obligation to pay. The labelling must be easy to read and the design of the button must be clear. In particular, the colour of the button should stand out from the background in order to attract the user’s attention.

In addition, the button must always be visible while scrolling, in direct connection with the offer information. Furthermore, all contract-related information must be displayed above the button. This includes information about the subject matter of the contract, such as invoice details, delivery address, payment method, references to the general terms and conditions and the right of withdrawal, product descriptions with images, the contract period for recurring services, the total price and any additional costs, including shipping costs. The inclusion of links alone is not sufficient. Please note that if the button is missing or incorrectly labelled, no effective contract is concluded with the customer in accordance with § 312g sec. 4 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch).

Who has to apply the button solution?

The regulation affects services as well as the sale of goods, so all B2C online shop operators will have to adapt their order processes. However, this does not apply to B2B models. The requirements also apply to Ebay shop operators and similar, whereby the order button must be specifically labeled (e.g. „place/confirm bid“) so that buyers perceive the current highest bid as the price. It is necessary that the adjustments to the order page are made promptly. Failure to do so may result in warnings due to competition law infingements, such as a cease-and-desist letter.

If you have any further questions, please contact our law firm on +49 (0) 40 180 364 020 or office@graulaw.eu.

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