E-shops: Check list for your terms and conditions

Every e-shop and e-commerce entity is certainly interested in what the upcoming amendment to consumer protection ↗. Do you know what it will mean for your terms and conditions?

In addition to the Consumer Protection Act, the Civil Code is undergoing major amendments in areas that may affect your business conditions.

In addition to the terms and conditions, however, there are also many other changes, which will affect discounts, reviews, refunds and cancellations. ↗.

Where to start? Come take a look at our check list, in which we take a loot at those changes (or skip ahead and just order a revision from us ↗):

✅ Check your identification and contact details

With the amendment, you are required to include not only your registered office and identity, but also your telephone number and address for e-mail delivery in your GTC. The phone number and e-mail address were not mandatory until now, so make sure you have them there. If you use other means of communication, please also indicate these other means.

✅ Mandatory information on delivery time

With the advent of the amendment, every seller will have to state the time at which he undertakes to deliver the goods or provide the service. This may be a specific deadline or a more general point in time.

In case you sell goods and conclude purchase contracts, the Civil Code also sets a new rule that unless a time of performance is agreed, the seller must deliver the goods without undue delay, within 30 days at the latest. E-shops should therefore check their terms and conditions to see if they have set a time of delivery. If they do not, the law imposes a 30-day deadline.

And because this statutory time limit is in place, the consumer can withdraw from the contract in the event of a delay in delivery (§ 2159a). At the same time, however, the law mitigates the whole situation by giving the entrepreneur the possibility to ask for an extension of delivery where it is justified (but for example, in the case of the delivery of a wedding dress, the attempt to get an extension of delivery will be quite useless and the consumer can simply withdraw...).

Do you require a deposit? You need to inform the consumer in advance

In the event that you, as the seller, require payment of a deposit, you are obliged to make this clear in advance, preferably in the terms and conditions.

Automated payment customization? You need to inform

Are you basing your business model on processes similar to those of Booking.com? Depending on what offers you view, or how many times you visit a particular offer, the price will be adjusted. Or it adjusts based on what items you've viewed before.

The amendment does not prohibit this option, but only requires you to inform your customers about this automated price adjustment in advance. Ideally, the provision should read something like this: 'We inform you that the price of goods is adjusted on the basis of automated decision-making and consumer behaviour profiling. The price is determined according to the goods you view in Our e-shop or the number of times you have viewed a particular item in the e-shop."

Prohibited clauses in the GTC? Beware of the CTIA

You must not have provisions in your T&C that exclude or limit the rights of defective performance or compensation for damages if you force the consumer to pay, where the decision when to provide the goods is up to you and other provisions listed in Section 1814 of the Civil Code.

Are you automatically extending the contractual relationship?

Then you surely know that you must give the consumer the option to refuse this automatic extension. Ideally, you want to know about such a refusal as far in advance as possible. And if the consumer doesn't make a decision in time, you automatically extend the contract. However, under the amendment, this rejection period must not be unreasonably far from the renewal date. In other words, if you want to oblige consumers to refuse renewal by a certain date, that date must not be too far from the automatic renewal date.

Do you want to sanction consumers for non-compliance in the GTC?

Under the amendment, you must not impose an unreasonable sanction. Within the framework of proportionality, the amount of the possible damage, the value of the goods the consumer is buying, etc. must be taken into account.

Do you want to determine the price only after you start to provide the performance?

Such an arrangement will also be very problematic from the point of view of the amendment, as a provision that postpones the determination of the price until the time of performance will also be considered an abusive arrangement.

What if you have such a provision in your GTC?

Then such an arrangement is simply disregarded. It's just as if it doesn't exist. Nothing worse could happen, right? Right?!

It's not that simple with this amendment.

There is a more tangible link between the private law areas in the Civil Code and the public law on consumer protection.

The Czech Trade Inspection Authority (or another authority) will now also assess these prohibited arrangements as part of its inspection activities, and a fine of up to CZK 5,000,000 may be imposed for this offence. Thus, if e-shops have not been afraid to include these provisions in the GTC because they were at most threatened with the invalidity of such a provision, they are now also threatened with a fine.

✅ Watch out for other payments

According to the Civil Code, the trader may not require the consumer to pay more than the amount the consumer is obliged to pay on the basis of the main contractual obligation. Unless the consumer has given his express consent. However, it is no longer clear from this statutory provision whether additional payment can be requested, for example, on the basis of a pre-ticked box. With the amendment, it is much clearer - you must not ask for further payments without express consent. And a pre-ticked check-box will not be enough.

✅ Do you want to only refer to the terms and conditions when concluding the contract?

A frequent question we address with clients is whether it is necessary to attach terms and conditions to the confirmed order or whether it is sufficient to simply refer to the terms and conditions posted on the website.

Pursuant to Section 1827(2) of the Civil Code, when concluding electronic contracts, the entrepreneur must make the contract and the terms and conditions available to the consumer in text form.

The amended law clarifies what is meant by this textual form.

The textual form is preserved if the conditions are stored on a so-called permanent data carrier.

This refers to USB sticks, memory sticks, or e-mail messages sent to the recipient's mailbox. Unfortunately, a link to a website where the consumer can download the terms and conditions will not be sufficient for the time being. This is mainly due to the fact that in such a case the terms and conditions may be unilaterally changed by the entrepreneur or the website administrator.

✅ How are your rights from defective performance set?

It is customary for sellers to basically copy the provisions of the Civil Code in their terms and conditions on the characteristics of the goods supplied, etc.

The amendment introduces wording changes as to when goods are deemed to be faultless. As the time limits are also changed and the way in which the consumer can exercise his rights is regulated, we recommend revising those provisions which deal with the quality of the goods and the rights that the buyer has in respect of possible defective performance.

You do not know what to do? Do not hesitate to contact us ↗, we will review your terms and conditions and notify you of any changes.

And if you need help with personal data protection, we will be happy to prepare a privacy policy ↗ for you.

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