e-Commerce law

E-commerce means that trading and (coming about of) contracts take place essentially in electronic form. Different technologies may be used there, such as fax, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), e-mail and internet. In the case of electronic commerce, the parties to contract (B2B or B2C) in principle never meet and thus do not exchange any signed (paper) contract, whilst, for example, a completely valid sale or subscription contract may be created. But to realise that, the legal structure of their relationship needs to take account of a) a range of statutory obligations in order to execute the electronic transaction without problems and b) the manner of coming about and the legal consequences of the electronic contract. The government has meanwhile introduced legislation based on the so-called E-commerce Directive to (better) protect the customer against online malpractice.

One of the statutory obligations for electronic transactions is to issue clear, comprehensible and unambiguous information. If the entrepreneur falls short in its information obligations, the consumer has the right, even after delivery, to cancel the agreement. Anyone trading via the internet or operating a webshop would do well to put his/her electronic ordering procedure and the information on the website under the microscope. In that context, you might need to adjust parts of your existing general terms & conditions or draw up e-commerce terms & conditions.