If you are planning on selling goods or services online you will need a merchant account in order to accept credit card transactions. Payment processors and banks often request to review your website’s terms and conditions as well as other policies and/or information on your website before they issue you with a merchant account. 

The consumer rights

When buying goods and services in Europe, consumers have the same rights in regards to Contract Information, Pricing and Payment, Taxes and VAT, Shipping and Delivery, Guarantees and Returns.

Also, as often individuals share personal information when accessing the web, such as name, address, and credit card number, etc.…common rules have been established to ensure that personal data enjoys a high standard of protection everywhere in Europe.

How does this impact you and your website?

In general, the consumer’s rights above mentioned are included in the policies required by the banks in order to approve your URL for the opening of a merchant account.

Main elements of the requirements

Consumers shopping online must be provided with the information below in a clear, correct and understandable manner:

  • The product characteristics
  • The total price inclusive of taxes and all charges
  • Delivery costs
  • Arrangements for payment, delivery or performance
  • The trader’s identity, geographical address and telephone number
  • The duration of the contract (if applicable)
  • Merchant’s business e-mail address
  • Any delivery restrictions in certain countries
  • The right to cancel the order within 14 days
  • Available after-sales services
  • Dispute resolution mechanisms
  • Trade register number
  • Professional title and VAT details (if applicable)
  • Professional association to which the trader belongs (if applicable)

They must also be provided with the below data privacy information:

  •  Collection of personal data
  • Processing personal data
  • Electronic communications
  • The right to be forgotten

Depending on the internal rules at the institution reviewing your application, the country, the business’ industry and/or the types of products sold, the information that must be displayed might vary.

Implementation on the website’s policies

As a guideline, your website should display the below policies. These policies include the information that needs to be provided to consumers:

Terms and Conditions

Pricing and Payment

Customers need to be clearly informed about the total price of the goods or services inclusive of all taxes and additional charges.  They should also know the arrangements for payment.

Shipping and Delivery

If your client has ordered a product for delivery at home this should be delivered within 30 days, unless otherwise agreed. The delivery times should be display on your website, as well as the delivery costs, delivery or performance and any delivery restrictions in certain countries.

Guarantees and Returns

Under EU rules, a trader must repair, replace, reduce the price or give you a refund if goods you bought turn out to be faulty or do not look or work as advertised.

Cancellation

If your client bought some goods or paid for or a service online (including by telephone and mail order), they have the right to cancel and return the order within 14 days, for any reason and with no justification.

Dispute resolution mechanisms

Once an online purchase is completed, a consumer if unsatisfied, can seek compensation in different ways.  An informal dispute resolution is always suggested.

Contract Information

The duration of the contract (if applicable)

It is also advisable to display the jurisdiction and/or governing law

Payment Page

Pricing and Payment

Once more this information should be display clearly on your payment page and inform your customer about the total price of the goods or services inclusive of all taxes and additional charges.

Taxes and VAT

This should include the total price inclusive of taxes and all charges.

 Imprint and Contact us sections

  •  Your business and/or your identity, geographical address and telephone number
  • Contact e-mail address
  • Available after-sales services
  • Trade register number (if applicable)
  • Professional title and VAT details (if applicable)

Privacy Policy

A Privacy Policy includes, but is not limited to, the below sections:

Collection of personal data

Provide a link to your privacy policy whenever you ask your customers to enter personal details, data can only be collected for defined legitimate purposes.

Processing personal data

Explain clearly which information are saved, transferred to a third party, used for statistics, advertising etc.

 Electronic communications

Explain how to opt out of a mailing list.

 The right to be forgotten

Provide information how your customers can require correcting, removing or blocking incorrect data about themselves.

 Conclusion

The Terms and Conditions, the policies and other elements on your website are a key aspect on doing business online. They are not only there to protect you and your business but also your customers. For this reason it is always advisable to seek the support of a legal professional to help you draft your Terms and Conditions and your Privacy Policy.  The above list includes some of the EU consumer rights elements but it is not limited to these elements.

 

Used links:

All the information provided is public information regarding the topics above – please refer to links below

http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/shopping/index_en.htm (Feb 24th 2017)

http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/telecoms-internet/data-protection-privacy/index_en.htm (Feb 24th 2017)

 

Daniela Gonzalez

Daniela Gonzalez is Head of Onboarding and Underwriting at PAYMILL. Working since 2014 at PAYMILL, she brings extensive international experience in the industry. On top she speaks 3 languages. Here she writes about Website compliance.