Online Stores Violate the Law

Online Stores Violate the Law

Consumers who shop online are far from guaranteed the right of withdrawal which they are entitled to.

The law firm Patrade Legal has reviewed 100 Danish online stores and the review shows that 89 of the online stores do not meet the disclosure requirements that have been in force since June 13, 2014, the date on which the new Danish Consumer Contracts Act entered into force.

The main changes in the law deal with the right of consumers to withdraw their purchase and the handling of returned products. For example, consumers have a right to a 14 day return period - even if the product has been used. These are EU rules implemented in the individual member states.

"Consumers have a right to all information on withdrawal and handling of returned goods appearing on the websites of the companies. However, we have found that this is not the case. 89 per cent of the companies we have examined do not comply with the law. Some of them have not changed their terms in order to meet the new requirements of the law, while others have presumably not understood the content of the law correctly, or have perhaps deliberately failed to disclose all consumer rights,” says Mikkel Kleis, lawyer and partner of Patrade Legal.

He concedes that a study of 100 online stores do not necessarily provide a complete picture of how all the online stores of the country handle the new rules, but the study indicates that there is a problem.

According to Mikkel Kleis, at some point the consumer ombudsman or the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority will have to decide what to do with all the companies that do not meet the requirements. Failure to comply with requirements may be punishable by fine according to the Danish Consumer Contracts Act, just like the decisions may be published on the websites of the authorities.

The failure of the online stores to comply with the disclosure requirement leads to the consumers' right of withdrawal being extended from 14 days to 12 months and companies not being entitled to claim compensation for depreciation of returned goods. But the problem is probably that very few consumers are aware of it.