Distance selling, often abbreviated as “VAD”, is a sales technique which consists, for a trader, in providing a service or a product to a consumer without the latter being present, by means of a communication tool. communication. The use of a telecommunication tool is one of the qualification criteria of the VAD, because this makes it possible to distinguish it from the sale by door-to-door sales.
Until a few years ago, distance selling was carried out by mail and telephone, but currently, it is mainly done on the internet, and in this case we speak of online sales, or ” e-commerce ” .
Distance selling has advantages, but also risks, especially for the consumer. It is for this reason that the legislator has strengthened the law on distance selling in recent years, and the Consumer Code imposes rules and obligations that distance selling professionals must absolutely respect.
The consumer has, for example, a right of withdrawal, and the seller, for his part, must absolutely provide the list of mandatory information.
Mandatory information to be provided by the seller
To begin with, here is the list of mandatory Hong Kong Phone Number List information that you must necessarily indicate to the consumer in the context of distance selling, if you are an e-trader:
Your name, telephone number and mailing address.
The general conditions of sale.
The main characteristics of the product or service.
The selling price including tax of the product or service.
The delivery method, as well as the related deadlines and costs.
The period of validity of the offer, which concerns only the services.
Since March 17, 2014 and the promulgation of the Hamon law, this list has been completed, in order to strengthen consumers’ rights, and e-merchants must now specify the terms of payment, indicate information relating to the right of withdrawal, as well as the time of delivery or performance of the service, if applicable.
The terms of conclusion of the sale
In the context of distance selling, it is essential to determine the moment when the sale is made from a legal point of view. In fact, it depends on the means of communication used for the sale.
If the sale is made online, for example via an e-commerce site, the consumer must have clicked a first time to place the order and a second to confirm it. Thus, the sale is validated from the moment the consumer clicks twice.
Regarding the sale by telephone, it is the verbal agreement given by the consumer that counts.
Finally, in the case of mail order sales, the sale is considered to be validated when the order form, containing the payment or the debit authorization, is sent.
The withdrawal period
Within the framework of the VAD, the legislator grants the consumer a withdrawal period of 14 days, which does not exist in the traditional sale.
This withdrawal period has been extended to 14 days thanks to the Hamon law.
Concretely, this means that a consumer who buys a product or a service remotely has the right to cancel his order 14 days after having validated his purchase, and that he can therefore obtain a refund. Importantly, no justification can be demanded by the remote seller. The consumer simply has to use the form made available by the merchant, or make a request by mail.
On the other hand, in the event of a retraction, the consumer has the obligation to return the product and to pay the delivery costs for the return of the product.
Perishable, tailor-made, transport, catering or leisure products are excluded from this right of withdrawal.
In addition, in the event of late delivery exceeding 30 days and non-delivery, the consumer may request a refund.
What recourse in the event of a dispute?
You have made a remote purchase, either by internet or by phone, but unfortunately your order has not been delivered, or it does not correspond to the product you ordered, or it arrived late, or it is degraded, damaged, unusable, etc.
Here’s what the cheated consumer can do in the event of a dispute.
In the event of a problem related to a remote purchase from a professional or a commercial site, various remedies, amicable or not, are possible.
First, it is advisable to contact the seller’s customer service. In the event of no response, a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt must be sent to the seller.
Then, if no solution is found after your first complaint, the consumer can refer the matter to the consumer ombudsman, electronically or by mail.
You should not hesitate either, in case of problems, to contact the consumer associations in your region.
You can also contact the departmental directorate of population protection (DDPP) or the departmental directorate of social cohesion and population protection (DDCSPP).
In the absence of an amicable solution, or if the consumer considers himself to be the victim of an offense, such as a scam, it is of course possible to take civil or criminal justice by filing a complaint.