Increased standards and statutory e-commerce regulations in Europe and Germany

The 'Button Solution' came into force on August the 1st - just a few days ago.

Germany has become the first country to enact a new EU law that is intended protecting online consumers against frauds and unexpected costs (undesired subscriptions, extra charges, delivery costs, etc.)
One big visible change will be the required, mandatory and accurately defined labeling ...

  • 'Kaufen' = 'Buy'
  • 'Zahlungspflichtig bestellen' = 'order with an obligation to pay'
  • 'Zahlungspflichtigen Vertrag abschlie├čen' = conclude a contract liable to pay

Other kinds of button labeling, like ...

  • 'Weiter' = 'Next'
  • 'Bestellung abgeben' = 'confirm an order' / 'place an order'
  • 'jetzt bestellen' = 'Order now'
  • 'Anmelden' = 'Registration'  (often used in case of subscriptions in Germany but also all over the world) 

will be not permitted in Germany up from the 1st of August 2012.

This strange 'Button Law' is a result from an EU Directive on consumer rights.
It's to be feared that Germany will be a trailblazer for the whole European Union Countries.
The consumer rights European Union Directive has its deadline in 2013 - and will be binding for the whole European Union.

Along with the new button, potential customers will have to get information on three basic points ...

  • The e-commerce shop has to state particularly that the order will cost them money. 
  • The e-commerce shop has to show all cost at once (total price of the goods or services, including all associated price components; and additional delivery and postage costs (if applicable), as well as an indication of any possible further costs or taxes) - the real cost of the order in a readable font size, color and contrast - clearly visible next to the button and main characteristics of the product or service. If the contract is one for permanent or periodic services the shop has to display also the minimum term of the contract.

The above information must be displayed as clear, comprehensible and prominent as possible.The information must be separated from the rest of the text and other details, so that the consumer can't miss the above information. Up from August 1st it isn't enough or acceptable providing this information only via a hyperlink (separated page, area or div-layer, etc)  or by pdf etc..

By the way I am not a lawyer - so if you do business in Germany - I suggest talk to your legal adviser and prove whether or not these legal changes might have effects on your site and business. 

Welcome to the 'Brave New World' of e-commerce in Germany !   ;-(


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