Order in the Order Process

This blog post is written by Veronica Uddsten, lawyer at Synch

You may be at a point where you have identified a great offering to consumers, and now you are faced with the challenge of putting together an online shop through which consumers can take part of such offering. This leads to the questions what to keep in mind from a consumer protection perspective when putting together a web shop. In this post no. two in our series on consumer protection, we outline some of the rules related to the order process.

In the beginning of the process, the consumer must be informed in a clear and comprehensible manner, of what means of payment will be accepted and whether there are any delivery restrictions. Prior to the consumer making the order, there must be technical features enabling the consumer to discover and correct any mistakes they have made when filling in information. Furthermore, the customer shall, prior to making the order, be informed in a clear and unambiguous manner of such technical features and what technical steps are required in order to conclude an agreement.

Prior to making the order, the consumer shall also be informed, in a clear and comprehensible manner, of numerous things such as information about the supplier and the product, pricing, the delivery cost, what right the consumer has to make a complaint in accordance with the law and the consumer’s right of withdrawal.

It is important to keep in mind that a consumer is only bound by an order that entails a payment obligation if the consumer expressly has accepted such obligation. Hence, when asking the consumer to place an order, unambiguous language should be used in relation to the payment obligation, e.g. a button where it is stated “pay now” rather than “order now”.

When the order has been placed, the consumer shall without delay receive an electronic confirmation that the order was placed successfully. Furthermore, the consumer shall within reasonable time, but no later than when the goods is delivered or when the supplier starts providing the service, receive a confirmation containing much of the information that has been presented to the consumer prior to making the purchase. Such confirmation shall be presented in a durable and readable format that is available to the consumer. It is also worth noting that the contract shall be presented to the consumer in a manner which makes it possible for the consumer to save it. In order to comply with these requirements, many businesses choose to include much of the mandatory information in their terms and conditions and include the terms and conditions in a confirmation e-mail as an attached document. This approach is to prefer to e.g. only providing a link to the contract as it can be questioned whether such link fulfils the requirement of it being “durable”.

The rules touched upon in this post can seem overwhelming and if you are in the process of setting up an online shop, it is worth considering how to make it compliant as to avoid e.g. the customers not being bound by their orders. What is set out above are only some of the rules that apply and as always, there are exceptions. If you want to know more about how to make your online shop compliant with consumer protections legislation, feel free to reach out to us by sending us an e-mail at contact@synchlaw.se.

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