Does every online store need the regulation?

Are you planning to open an online store and wonder if it is necessary for your store to have the regulation? What do you really need the regulation for and what should it include? These questions will be answered in today's article by attorney-at-law Sandra Mościcka-Wójciak, co-author of the blog

The internet regulation is most likely the first document you will think of when setting up an online store. This is undoubtedly the most important document of the online store, so today's post will try to convince you that you definitely need it.

Let's start with answering the question of whether the law requires the online store to have the regulation.

Obligations imposed by the Act on the Provision of Services by Electronic Means

By the art. 8 of the Act on the Provision of Services be Electric Means of July 18, 2002, the legislator imposes many duties on the service provider (the entity providing services by electronic means). According to this article, the service provider is required to define the regulation of provision of services by electric means and to provide free access to the regulation for the recipient before concluding a contract for the provision of such services, as well as to make it available at its request in such a way that it is possible to obtain, reproduce and record the content using the ICT system, which the recipient uses.

Importantly, the service buyer is not bound by these provisions of the regulations, which were not made available to him in an above-mentioned way.

Such regulation must specify, in particular:

1) the types and scope of services provided by electronic means;
2) the terms of providing services by electronic means, including:
a) technical requirements necessary to cooperate with the ICT system used by the service provider,
b) a ban on the recipient providing unlawful content;
3) conditions for concluding and withdrawing from the contracts for the provision of services by electronic means;
4) complaint procedure.

In addition, the service provider provides services by electronic means in accordance with the regulation.

Accordingly to the Act, only entities providing services by electronic means are obliged to draw up the regulation of service provision before concluding a contract for the provision of such services.

Do online stores provide services by electronic means and have such an obligation?

The President of the OCCP explained in one of his decision that the scope of the Act on the provision of services by electronic means covers all activities related to the conclusion of the contract, carried out online (decision of 17.06.2011, RWR 61-10/11/JM mark). Thus, the OCCP stands in the position that every online store should have the regulation and make it available to its customers, and its absence may give rise to severe consequences for the store. You will learn about what consequences have the lack of the regulation, as well as its incorrect formulation in one of our next articles.

Information obligations imposed by the Consumer Rights Act

According to art. 14 (2) of the Consumer Rights Act of May 30, 2014. in the case of distance contracts, the business owner is obliged to provide the information referred to in art. 12, in a manner corresponding to the type of means of distance communication, used, in a legible and clear language.

Art. 12 of this Act imposes an obligation on the entrepreneur to inform the consumer, among others about: main features of the service including the subject of the service and the method of communication with the consumer; the identification data; company address; the total price or remuneration for the service together with taxes, the method and date of payment; the manner and date of exercising the right to withdraw from the contract.

This information must be provided at the latest when the consumer wishes to be bound by a distance contract in a clear and understandable way.

It is worth getting acquainted with all the requirements imposed by this article, because if we do not fulfill the information obligations towards the consumer, it may have negative consequences for us. They are, among others possible costs that the owner of the online store may incur if the consumer is not informed about the right to withdraw from the contract - in this case, this right expires only after 12 months, and not 14 days from the date of the contract or delivery of goods.

Regulations of online store and GDPR

If you run an online store, in most cases you will collect and process personal data of its users. Which means that according to the GDPR as a personal data administrator you have to fulfill certain obligations. These include information obligations towards clients related to the processing of their personal data. You have an obligation to provide clients with information about data controller data, including contact details, purposes of personal data processing and the legal basis of processing. This information can be included in the regulation, but most often online stores put them in a separate document, which is the privacy policy.

In summary, online store regulation is a basic document that regulates the rights and responsibilities of both the seller and the customer. It is a perfect place where you can fulfill a series of information obligations imposed on you. From a legal point of view, it is a contractual pattern that binds the other party if, prior to the conclusion of the contract, it was made available to it in an appropriate manner (among others, it may be subject to scrutiny in view of illegal clauses). You will learn more about the clauses that are not allowed in the regulation in one of our next articles. That's why it is so important that every online store has it. Properly formulated regulation will protect you from disputes with buyers.

What's more, properly prepared regulation testifies to the reliability of the online store and build a positive image of it. And this can all translate into sales growth ☺ Therefore if you do not yet have the regulation on the online store, we encourage you to make it, and if you are wondering whether the existing regulation meets all the obligations imposed by law, it is worth being audited.

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