The Corona pandemic has already left its unmistakable mark. The restrictions have, inter alia, forced many companies to move their business online. Therefore, Lundgrens focuses its attention on online terms and conditions for sale and delivery and, in the following, goes over some of the most essential elements that a company must be aware of.
Terms and conditions constitute a material part of the contractual framework for customers' purchases of a company's goods or services. As a company, you can – subject to the limitations of the law – determine the terms that apply to customers', including consumers', purchases. In the following, some of the most essential elements that a company must keep in mind when preparing its online terms and conditions are highlighted.
Easily understood terms
One of the most essential and fundamental elements of online terms and conditions is the language. First and foremost, it is important that the terms are written in a language that consumers find easy to understand. In addition, companies must be aware of which language the conditions must be written in.
In Denmark, if products are marketed in Danish, it is, in principle, a requirement that the mandatory information is also available in Danish. This requirement also applies to the terms and conditions as this is where consumers, among other things, are informed of their rights.
An offer or an invitation to make an offer?
According to Danish contract law, an offer (a promise) is in principle binding on the promisor. This means, e.g., that when a company in its physical store states a price for an item, the company has offered the customers to buy the item at the price indicated. The company is then bound by the price – unless the stated price was an obvious error.
In Denmark, the same principle applies for webshops. Companies must sell the goods at the indicated prices, even if a company becomes aware of a minor error in the indicated price after the customer's order. This is not the case in, e.g., Sweden, where a webshop is considered an invitation to consumers to "make an offer". This means that the company is not bound, inter alia by the indicated price or availability of the item on the website.
However, this is only the general rule, and it is therefore possible for a company to set up its website and online terms and conditions in such a way that – as in Sweden – it only constitutes an invitation to make an offer. Therefore, it is important that you, as a company, decide on how you will regulate the situation.
When it comes to the purchase of goods and services in the EU, consumers have several mandatory rights. As a business, you are obliged to inform consumers of their rights in the terms and conditions.
A good example of such rights is the consumers' right of withdrawal. The company must inform the consumers of when the right of withdrawal applies, for how long it lasts and when it starts. However, it is just as important – for the sake of the company – to state when the right of withdrawal does not apply. This may, inter alia, be the case if the company offers goods customized to the needs of the consumers. It should also be stated in the terms if the consumers themselves must pay to return the goods.
Another important element, which unfortunately is easy to forget, is that the consumer legislation states that the consumers must be informed of their avenues of complaint. This applies both to how the consumer can complain to the company as well as how the consumer can complain to a complaints board, including the Consumer Complaints Board.
The above are just examples of the many rules that apply in relation to companies' online terms and conditions. At Lundgrens we are experts in marketing and consumer law, and we have advised many Danish and foreign companies on their online terms and conditions.
If your company's terms and conditions need an update, or if you need a completely new set of terms and conditions, please do contact us. We have a dedicated team that is ready to provide fast and competent advice.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.