21 November 2017

Online shopping is more and more trendy. While it is a very good opportunity, it has more risks for consumers than traditional retail shopping. For example, you cannot see the product in reality, so what if the shirt you ordered for your father as a Christmas present does not fit? The European Union recognized the risks of online shopping and adopted several consumer protection rules. In this short article I collected 5 issues you must include in your terms&conditions if you operate an E-shop in Hungary. Please note that these rules only apply if your buyer is a consumer (a natural person who is not acting for business purposes).

The contract conclusion

However, it seems obvious and it is mandatory, some online-shop owners forget to inform the buyer about the steps of the contract conclusion. In your terms&conditions you must inform your buyer how he can order products from you and also how he can correct the errors (eg. typos) made before sending the order to you. You must also inform the buyer about the costs of the contract closing (eg. Internet or phone fees).

You need to ensure that your terms and conditions are available and the buyer can download them.

Prices and other fees

You must inform the buyer about the prices of the products, including all taxes (eg. VAT) and other costs&fees which may arise (eg. shipping costs). If you are not able to calculate the exact amount of these costs you must at least inform the buyer that certain types of costs may arise.

Forgetting to inform your buyer about these costs can cause serious loss since your buyer shall not pay you the costs about which he has not been informed prior to the contract closing.

Right of withdrawal

Your buyer is entitled to withdraw from the contract (cancel the order or send back the product) within 14 days from the takeover without giving any reason. So, regarding the question in the opening, if your buyer does not like the ordered Christmas present, he must inform you that he withdraws from the contract.

It is your obligation to inform the buyer about his right of withdrawal and its conditions (eg. in some cases, he cannot exercise this right). If your buyer withdraws from the contract, you need to pay him back the purchase price and the buyer needs to send you back the product.

Warranty rights

It is a very important obligation to clearly inform your buyer about his rights in case the product is faulty. Consumers have various warranty rights in Hungary and you cannot differ from the law to the detriment of buyer.

The information provided needs to be easily understandable for the buyer so that he can see the difference between warranty, product guarantee and guarantee and what he can request (eg. repair, replacement or price reduction) and what is the limitation period of these rights.

Enforcement of consumer rights

You must also inform your buyer where he can enforce his consumer rights, more precisely about the possibility of out-of-court complaint handling or the possibility to file a complaint before the conciliation panel.

In case of European Union cross-country disputes (eg. if you are situated in Germany but your buyer has his residence in Hungary) it is possible to solve the matter on the Online Dispute Resolution site of the European Union (link). Not only the buyer can make complaints on this website, but it also provides the opportunity to make a complaint as a seller against a consumer.