Today I’m going to talk to you about a subject that is not very exciting but very important
If you don’t want to risk having problems with the authorities: the legal obligations as an e-merchant. Very often e-merchants neglect this part and work in an unprofessional way, e-commerce is not the wild west there are many legal obligations, the Hamon law, in particular, came to add even more supervision in eCommerce. We will see in this article the different things to know or to do to be in order.
First of all the law framing e-commerce is the law 2004-575 of June 21, 2004.
Register as a company
The first thing to do before launching your e-commerce site is to register as a company. As soon as you earn the least amount of money you have to do it, it’s an obligation. If you wish to test your activity before creating a “real company” you can become a micro-entrepreneur that will allow you to launch your business at a lower cost, because a company has costs.
Legal obligations on your site
This is really the basis but I still see too many sites without it, you must have on your site legal notices and general conditions of sale in addition to being mandatory many Internet users consult these pages in their decision process to buy on your site. If you don’t know what to put in them, there are plenty of sites on the Internet that allow you to generate legal notices and general terms and conditions for free.
The Hamon law
In June 2014, the Hamon law came to complete even more the legal obligations of e-merchants, here is what this law tells us.
The law requires websites to display a message that explains that the site collects cookies, the visitor must accept this message. You can display it in different ways with a: pop-up, a bar at the bottom of the site or at the top of the site, it’s up to you to display it so that it looks the least ugly possible on your site.
The sales tunnel
Your sales tunnel must have at least 3 steps:
- The order summary with the total price and delivery information
- Another step where you can modify the order, the delivery information, the quantity of the product
- The finalization of the order
The buyer must be informed that he is going to place an order
You must pay attention to the names of the buttons you can not use a button “next” but earlier “order” for example. The buyer must know the payment methods accepted on your site. At any time the customer must be able to go back in his order in order to modify information if he wishes it.
The delivery periods cannot exceed 30 days, you thus have the obligation to deliver your customer in this defined period, beyond this one will be able to require a refund.
Right of withdrawal after receipt of the order
Before the customer had up to 7 days to obtain a refund of his order now with the Hamon law the customer has up to 14 days to retract and return his order without any justification on his part. You also have the obligation to refund him within 14 days after his request 30 days before.
Summary of the order
Your customer must receive by mail a summary of the order, with his invoice.
You must declare your site to the CNIL (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés) as soon as you collect information from the customer, you must do so. To declare you must have a number of SIRET, for a classic e-commerce site the simplified declaration is enough.
Risk in case of non-respect of these obligations
The DGCCRF can fine you from 3000 to 15000€, of course, it’s in the worst case but it’s better to be in order and avoid this kind of inconvenience.
Obligation to keep an accounting
As a company you have to keep accountancy, it is an obligation. As a self-employed entrepreneur, you can keep it yourself but for a company I advise you to call on an accountant, it’s his job and a mistake in this field on your side could be harmful to your company.
I hope that with this article you have understood the importance of respecting the legislation
it is certainly not the most interesting part but it should not be neglected, under penalty of punishment.