If you have or are planning to have an e-commerce website, Mrs. Bondard’s firm offers to inform you of the latest provisions applicable. These provisions will change your Terms and Conditions of sales as well as the way you operate distance selling.
The new Hamon Act, passed on May 17th 2013, will enter into force on June 13th 2014 and will raise the bar of consumer protection as well as secure distance contracts. This legislation establishes many specific cases for which arrangements have to be made.
The main provisions of the law are as follows:
- Stricter regulations on the information to be provided before concluding a distance contract. From now on, the consumer has to precisely know his rights and obligations prior to placing any order. That includes the price, information about the trader, about the main characteristics of the goods or services, the time by which the trader undertakes to deliver the goods or to perform the services. This information shall be provided in a “clear and comprehensible manner” (section 6 of the Hamon Act). You will also give information about the accepted means of payment and any delivery restrictions at the latest at the beginning of the delivery process. In practice, you will therefore have to check that, as a trader, you provide this information before the contract is executed.
- Pre-ticked priced-option practice by professionals is now impossible. The buyers often had to untick boxes upon payment (e.g. for insurance). Such boxes are illegal from now on. Therefore, in practice, if you don’t want to be exposed to a potential claim by your client to reimburse the additional amount paid, you must delete the pre-ticked boxes currently on your website (section 18 of the Hamon Act).
- Upon ordering, the consumer shall clearly and legibly acknowledge his obligation to effect payment. The order confirmation button shall explicitly state that clicking on it validates the order, failing that the contract is void (section 9 of the Hamon Act). In practice, you must adapt the buttons on you website and add “order with payment obligation” or any similar and unambiguous expression.
- The period in which the cancellation can take place is now twice as long. The cancellation period has been extended from seven to fourteen days (section 9 of the Hamon Act). In practice, you must:
- accept any returned goods or services in a 14 day-period
- as well as provide the client with a cancellation form.
The presentation and wording of the form will be determined by a decree by the Conseil d’Etat (the highest administrative court).
- New delivery period. From now on, the seller must undertake to make the delivery at the latest within thirty days (section 23 of the Hamon Act)
In practice, you must:
- meet the deadline – otherwise the client may, after formal notification, rescind the contract –
- as well as redraft your terms and conditions indicating that the delivery shall be made within 30 days. Therefore, any provision stating that the delivery deadline is for reference only, is illegal.
- Non-compliance with the new compulsory deadlines entitles the consumer to claim full reimbursement of the sums paid within fourteen days (against the former 30 days) (section 23 of the Hamon Act)Should:
- the delivery not be made before the deadline, or
- the consumer cancel his order, you will have to reimburse the consumer at the latest 14 days
- after the cancellation date, or
- after you were informed of the consumer’s decision to cancel (section 9 of the Hamon Act).
In practice, you will refund the consumer with the same means of payment used for the initial transaction (section 9 of the Hamon Act).
We finally advise you to keep your previous contracts, as any contract executed before June 13th 2014 will remain subjected to the former law.
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