One of the main obligations of providers of ecommerce solutions (e.g. web shops, platforms, etc.) is to provide customers with comprehensive and complete information. The information obligations (regulated by European and national law) are complex and implementing them can be challenging.
In a recent case decided by the Austrian Supreme Court, the obligation to inform the buyer about the existence of a legal warranty for the goods and, if applicable, about the existence and conditions of commercial guarantees, was at issue.
The Association for Consumer Information (Verein für Konsumenteninformation) (the "Association") sued a company operating in Austria, taking the position that the conditions of product guarantees in the web shop must be printed in full for each product. The view taken by the Association would have meant that every web shop operator in Austria would be compelled to redesign its web shop in such a way that any manufacturer's guarantees for a product are stated in full in the presentation of every product. The Association also did not want to allow pop-ups or links. This would have meant that in some cases page-long guarantee texts would need to be provided in full text for each product.
In our view, this would have been massively counterproductive. Web shops would become harder to use without any benefit for the consumer. Of course, it is important and sensible to make the text of the guarantee conditions available to consumers. Why the Association did not want to allow this by means of a clearly visible link to a PDF remains a mystery.
Fortunately, the Austrian Supreme Court corroborated our opinion. The legal information obligations do not fundamentally prohibit the provision of information on guarantees in general terms and conditions or pop-up windows. However, the website must be designed in such a way that, in connection with the product presentation, it is ensured that the consumer is informed with sufficient clarity and in good time about the place where the information can be found and the type of information.
Conclusion: The provision of information is important and the overall design of the web shop must satisfy legal requirements. Make sure to have your e-commerce presence checked by your lawyer, including in terms of the overall design
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