New consumer law 2022
New consumer law will soon come into force and this will also have its effect on you as a webshop. Two laws have recently been announced that will bring a number of changes. The new rules are mainly the result of the implementation of European legislation and aim to modernise existing consumer law.
Below, I would like to give you more information in detail about the most important changes:
Legal guarantee: extension and reinforcement
Previously, there was only a warranty obligation for goods, but now there will also be a warranty obligation for 'goods with digital elements'. Think of a tablet with a control system, smartphones, laptops, GPS, etc. This guarantee applies when the digital elements are included in the purchase. For example, the seller of a laptop is not obliged to give you a guarantee for the anti-virus programme that you install on this laptop when you buy it later.
There is also a legal obligation for digital services and digital content. Think of streaming services, cloud storage, apps, music files, e-books etc. The seller is liable for any defect that occurs or comes to light during the period in which the service is provided. For example: if the consumer has a subscription to a streaming service for more than two years, the seller will also be liable for any defect which arises even if it occurs after two years.
There is also a stricter guarantee obligation for the seller. During the statutory guarantee period of two years, any defect is deemed to be covered by the guarantee. It is up to the company to prove that the defect is not covered by the guarantee. Previously, this was only the case for the first six months, after which it was up to the consumer to prove that he had not used the product inappropriately.
When selling second-hand goods, this guarantee period is shorter, namely one year. It will be compulsory to point this out to the consumer in the general terms and conditions. If not, a guarantee period of two years will apply.
In addition to the legal guarantee of two years, you can always offer a commercial guarantee. The most common commercial guarantee is an extension of the legal guarantee. This commercial guarantee is also stricter:
Presenting your guarantee in advertising in a way that is more attractive than it actually is, will be prohibited. You cannot, therefore, present your guarantee in advertising in a way that differs from that which is stated in your general terms and conditions. If this is the case, the conditions stated in the advertisement will apply. In addition, it is important to clearly state your commercial guarantee in the general terms and conditions. You should point out that there is also a legal guarantee, the procedure for the consumer, to which products this additional guarantee applies and other conditions that the consumer should take into account.
Update mandatory with digital elements or digital services
During the warranty period, you have the obligation to provide updates for software or digital services that you sell, such as security updates. The updates must ensure that they can continue to function adequately. If you do not perform such updates, this is considered a defect that falls under the guarantee. In addition, you will also have to inform the consumer in your general terms and conditions that she is entitled to these updates.
The three points above come into effect on 1 juni 2022.
Rules on price reductions
The announcements of price reductions are made more stringent. According to the new rules, the previous price must always be indicated. This is the lowest price that applied during a period of 30 days prior to the announced price reduction. This rule was introduced in order to prevent artificial price increases in the period prior to an offer. Webshops are also subject to this rule. However, this reference price is determined per sales channel. Therefore, if you have a physical shop and a web shop, you will have to determine the reference price for both channels separately.
Additional information requirements on theweb shop and social media
All of the company's data must be clearly displayed on the web shop. This includes the information about:
the name of the company;
the geographic address of the company;
the e-mail address;
the phone number;
the company number;
Please note that this information must also be clearly visible on all social media channels used.
Additional information requirements for platforms
A higher information obligation will be imposed on online platforms. This information obligation mainly concerns the parameters for ranking offers, but also the capacity of the seller on the platform (company/consumer). If the third party seller is a consumer, it must be indicated that consumer law does not apply to the contract. In addition, there must be information on how obligations are shared between the third party sellers and the platform.
Stricter rules on consumer reviews
When you place consumer reviews on your web shop, information is placed on the reviews: do the reviews originate from a consumer who actually bought something, did the reviews take place against payment, are they false reviews, etc. Therefore, it will be important to provide information on how the checks are carried out and how consumer reviews are processed. If your company works with a review system such as Trustpilot, this information is often already mentioned on your own review page. When you have your own review system, this change is not unimportant.