Seven popular legal mistakes in onlineshopping

With the numerous purchase contracts, which are concluded in the Internet of the Internet in the boundless world wide web, legally partly different rules apply than in the business on site. Thus some legal errors, myths and half-truths have arisen. We will sort out the most popular mistakes in online shopping.

Error number 1: The contract is concluded with the order

One of the most popular legal myths is that the purchase contract on the net already comes with the sending of the order. In principle, however, each agreement requires two corresponding explanations of the will. Therefore the order by the buyer is not sufficient yet, because the agreement of the seller is missing. This has just explained with the setting of the product in its Onlineshop that he would like to sell it basically.

This is not enough for a contract conclusion, because the seller must also agree to the sale to the buyer. Therefore the contract comes into existence only if the online merchant has accepted the offer contained in the order.

Error number 2: If the ordered product is not in stock, the seller may send a similar product

The box for the confirmation of the General Terms and Conditions (GTC) does not come with any online order. But not every clause in the terms and conditions is effective. A classic example of popular but ineffective clauses is the rule that online merchants are allowed to supply a comparable product when the actually ordered product is no longer in stock.

Such clauses, however, discriminate against the buyer, who, for example, did not want a square table when ordering an oval table, or who had deliberately opted for the dress in the color strawberry. By sending another product, the object of the contract would be changed, which the seller may not decide unilaterally. Therefore, he can not oblige his customers to accept comparable products, but rather, for example, to offer the dress in coral color.

Mistake number 3: Online merchants must offer different payment methods

Legally there is no regulation on the question, which and how many payment options must be offered in an onlineshop. It is therefore up to the seller, which options he offers. From a business perspective, it may be sensible – and with a view to the competition perhaps also – to provide different methods of payment (eg payment in advance, invoice, PayPal, credit card, etc.).

Error number 4: Buyers have an unlimited right of revocation

Online contracts concluded are legally part of the remote sales agreements, in which consumers are generally entitled to a right of revocation. This right does not apply without restrictions, but there are also some online contracts for which the right of revocation is excluded. These include, for example, easily perishable products or customized products.

Error number 5: You can only revoke a reason

Even if many online retailers want to know the reason for the revocation and have a questionnaire for this purpose, one can revoke the contract without mentioning a reason. Legally, the right of revocation does not presuppose any reason, but rather exists without reason for the two-week period.

Error Number 6: Online retailers are obliged to offer the legal guarantee

There is no obligation to offer the legal guarantee, because this law institute does not exist at all. The German purchase law only covers the legal guarantee or the voluntary guarantee. Warranty and guarantee are two basic rights:

While the warranty is required by law and is related to the faultlessness of the product at the time of purchase, the warranty is always a voluntary contractual performance of the seller relating to the functionality of the product within a specified period of time. The legal guarantee does not have to be offered separately by the online merchant, since these rights (eg supplementary performance, rescission, damages) are by law.

Error number 7: Online retailers may set a tight deadline for complaints

Even if onlineshops try to put their customers to the complaint a short period of a few weeks to the complaint, this period is not legally binding. Such clauses are ineffective because the statutory warranty period for defective products is two years.

Therefore, as a customer, you do not have to adhere to the seller’s complaint period. After six months, however, the burden of proof is reversed by the buyer, who must then prove that the defect had already been reported at the conclusion of the contract