This publication will provide a detailed information on the preparation and content of the Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions.
The Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions regulate the relations between the owner of the online shop and the users for the use of the website as well as the conclusion of agreements with the users of the website regarding the purchase and of goods offered for sale on the online shop.
The regulation is mainly in the Electronic Commerce Act, the Consumer Protection Act, the Personal Data Protection Act and the Copyright and Related Rights Act. It should be noted that the rules of the Consumer Protection Act are applicable only to consumer agreements, as “Consumer” means any individual who acquires goods or uses services not intended for commercial or professional activity and any individual acting outside his trade of profession. This means that if the customer who buys goods or uses a service is a trader than the rules in the Consumer Protection Act are not applicable to him.
Before we provide information on what the detailed Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions should contain, we will describe what are the requirements of the Consumer Protection Act and the Electronic Commerce Act to the owners of websites when concluding agreements at a distance.
I. Requirements provided by the Consumer Protection Act and the Electronic Commerce Act to the owners of websites when concluding agreements at a distance
First of all, the owner of the website undertakes to provide users with the terms and conditions and the content of the agreement in a way that allows their storage and reproduction (for example, to be read directly from the website or to be downloaded to the user’s electronic device). Also, for a distance agreement that is electronically concluded through electronic means via the online shop and which provides for an obligation on the consumer to make a payment, the trader shall provide the consumer with information about:
- The main characteristics of the offered goods or service;
- The final price of the goods or services, including all taxes and charges on their transportation to the consumer. Where because of the nature of the goods and services, the price cannot be reasonably calculated beforehand, the owner of the website shall provide the method of calculating to the consumer;
- The term of the agreement, where applicable, or where the agreement is a permanent agreement or provides for an automatic renewal clause – the conditions for its termination;
- The minimum period of time for which the consumer has agreement obligations where applicable.
The information above should be available to the consumers in a clear and obvious manner in a close proximity to the button through which users make their orders. The trader is obliged to ensure that when the user makes his order, he exclusively confirms that the order implies an obligation for payment on his part.
The owner of an online shop shall also provide to consumers on a durable carrier a confirmation of the agreement within a reasonable time after the conclusion of the agreement at a distance or at the latest at the moment of delivery of the goods or before the performance of the service. Confirmation by the trader should contain all the information under Art. 47 para. 1 of the Consumer Protection Act unless the trader has provided this information to the consumer on a durable carrier before the conclusion of the agreement and in that case of agreements for the provision of digital content which is not supplied on a physical carrier – confirmation on an explicit consent and acceptance by the consumer to begin the performance of the agreement before the expiration of the right to exercise a withdrawal.
II. Content of the Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions
In this part of the publication it will be described what shall a detailed Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions contain.
In this part of the Terms and Conditions it is recommended to advise users to read the Terms and Conditions and in case of questions, they are advised to contact the provider of the website. If the user does not agree to any of the terms contained in the terms and conditions, the use of the website is not recommended.
In this part of the Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions, it is advisable to define some of the terms that will be used in the terms and conditions, such as: provider; user/s; online shop; order; purchase agreement; contact form; newsletter subscription and more.
3. Providing information regarding the provider of the website
Next, information about the provider of the website shall be provided. This obligation is enshrined in Article 4 of the Electronic Commerce Act and includes an obligation to provide information about:
- the name of the provider of the website;
- permanent address or registered office and address of management;
- the address in which the provider carries out its activity if it is different from the address mentioned in the previous point;
- correspondence data, including telephone and e-mail address;
- data for entry in a commercial or other public register;
- information on the body exercising control over its activities when such activity is subject to a notification, registration or licensing regime;
- an indication if the provider is registered under the Value Added Tax Act;
- other information provided in a legal act.
4. Characteristics of the website
In this part of the Terms and Conditions it is recommended to provide information about the purpose of the website, as well as what kind of services are provided to the users of the website.
In most online shops there is an option to register a profile. In that case, the Terms and Conditions should provide the step-by-step procedure to register an account. This section should describe what data is provided when registering a user profile and under what conditions the owner of the online shop has the right to reject an account registration request, as well as in which cases he is entitled to delete a registered user’s profile and to restrict or block user’s access to its registered account.
Next, all actions taken by the user and website owner when ordering goods/ services from the online shop must be fully described or listed. It is also advisable to describe the conditions under which the trader has the right to cancel orders. It is important to note that most online orders can be made by both users who have a registered user’s profile and users who do not have a registered profile.
7. Pricing and payment terms
This part of the document should indicate in which currencies are the prices of the goods offered in the online shop as well as how the payments of the ordered goods are made. The most common ways to make payments are: through the PayPal system; payment by credit or debit card; payment via the myPOS system; payment by installment or bank transfer.
8. Order refusal
The Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions may provide an option for the user to cancel an already made and confirmed order by the trader. If this option is provided, it should be described under what conditions and within what time the customer may cancel the order.
In this part it should be described in detail all the conditions concerning the delivery of the ordered goods from the online shop: whether the deliveries are made only on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria or in other countries, what are the delivery terms of the goods and other clauses concerning the delivery of ordered goods. It is worth mentioning that if delivery is outside the borders of the European Union it is possible import duties and taxes to be charged. These taxes shall be paid by the customer once the product reaches the country concerned.
10. Claims and refusal of delivery
It should be described in which cases the customer has the right to refuse to receive the goods on delivery and what are the rights of the customer in making a claim as well as the order of making a claim.
11. Return of goods
In the to charge it is advisable, if I may even say, necessary that the consumer without giving any reason, without compensation or penalty has the legally guaranteed opportunity to return the purchased item within 14 days of the date of conclusion of the agreement – in the case of a service agreement or acceptance of the goods by the consumer or by a third party other than the carrier and indicated by the consumer – under a sales agreement. In the event that this information is not provided to the consumer in the Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions than the latter has the right to withdraw from the distance agreement in a period of one year and 14 days from the date of conclusion of the agreement – acceptance of goods by the consumer or by a third party other than the carrier and indicated by the consumer – in the case of sales agreement.
12. Reimbursement of payments
It is recommended that you also include reimbursement clauses, in which clause are mentioned the cases in which refunds are paid to consumers and how they are reimbursed.
13. Force majeure
The detailed Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions should contain a clause that relieves the trader of full or partial failure, including a delay in delivery in the event of a force majeure.
14. Rights, obligations and liability of the Users
It is advisable to include a section in the Terms and Conditions that contains exhaustively what rights and obligations the users have on the website.
15. Rights and obligations of the owner of the online shop
As well as mentioning the rights and obligations of the users of the website, it is also recommended to define the rights and obligations of the owner of the online shop.
Next it is recommended to include clauses on liability in the Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions .
17. Intellectual property rights. Limitations of use
Websites usually contain texts, logos, pictures, images, illustrations, graphics. Therefore, it is extremely important to determine what rights on each part of the website belong to the operator of the website, how users can use the content of the site (for example, they may be allowed to use the content for personal, non-commercial use) and respectively for what purpose the content of the site cannot be used (for example, it may be mentioned that the use of the information contained on the website for commercial purposes, in whatever form, is absolutely prohibited), which actions of users constitute an infringement of intellectual property rights and what are the consequences if an infringement has been committed.
18. Dispute resolution
More and more traders provide the right to their customers for resolving of disputes between the customer and the trader using the possibilities of the European online dispute resolution platform, which can be found on the following website: https://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/main/index.cfm?event=main.home2.show&lng=BG. Therefore, it is advisable to describe this possibility also in the Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions.
19. Links to third party websites
Most websites especially online shops contain links to third-party websites. In this part of the terms and conditions, it is important to be mentioned that all third party websites accessible through the website are independent and the provider assumes no responsibility for damages and losses incurred by Users as a result of the use of these websites. Also the owner of the website is not responsible for the content on the third party websites, and also for the presence of viruses, other harmful components on these websites.
20. Newsletter subscription
Most online shops offer the opportunity to include the User’s e-mail address in a list with e-mail addresses, where the user subscribes to receive a newsletter over a certain period of time. A clause can be included in the Terms and Conditions which provides information on the procedure for newsletter subscription as well as how to unsubscribe from receiving of newsletters.
21. Final provisions
Finally, the providers are advised to include, at the end of the Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions, what shall be the applicable law. It is also worth mentioning that the provider has the right to modify and update the terms and conditions at any time in the future.
Due to the many peculiarities that should be taken into account when drafting of Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions , it is advisable to seek assistance from a specialist with experience in this matter. Krasimira Kadieva will gladly assist you in drafting of the Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions due to the fact that she has successfully in her practice drafted documents for doing business on the Internet (website terms and conditions of use, privacy policies, cookies policies) both in Bulgarian and English languages.
Among the clients who have received legal expertise to their individual needs in Internet law and E-commerce over the past few years are both service providers, software developers, digital agencies, graphic designers, online stores owners, hotel owners, construction companies, real estate agencies as well as small companies that are just starting their business on the Internet.
This material prepared by Krasimira Kadieva aims to provide information about the Ecommerce Website Terms and Conditions . It does not constitute a legal opinion and cannot be interpreted as an individual consultation on any concrete facts or circumstances. The advice of a legal specialist should be obtained for specific questions and situations. For more information on the above mentioned issues and individual consultations, please contact Krasimira Kadieva at 00359 882 308 670 or make an inquiry using the contact form of this website. Krasimira Kadieva can assist in drafting documents for doing business on the Internet (website terms and conditions of use, privacy policies, cookies policies) both in Bulgarian and English languages.