Useful Information for E‑Commerce Companies

Useful Information for E-Commerce Companies

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Recently, new regulations have been issued that impact on E‑Commerce companies that sell to end consumers. In this article we summarize the most relevant points to take into account.

If you have any questions, for further information or for particular considerations for your company, please contact us at [email protected].

        i.            Product/Service Information
In your online store you must guarantee the consumer clear, sufficient, and truthful information about the product or service you offer for sale.

·         The essential features of the product or service (model, size, color, etc.), including risks to the health and safety of consumers: at this point, the specific regulations applicable to the type of product or service must be complied with.

·          Identification of the product manufacturer (if applicable).

·         Identification of registrations of products subject to prior authorization regimes (if applicable).

·         Available stock of the product or services.

·         Warranties: the conditions to which the product or service warranty is subject must be reported.

·         Any other relevant condition or characteristic of the product or service that should be known to the consumer.

For instance, if your company sells household appliances, all details of the model, size, manufacturer’s data, applicable manufacturers’ and seller’s warranties, available stock, and other specifications and terms of engagement must be disclosed.

All of this information should be available throughout the purchasing process and be easy for the consumer to find and understand. In addition, this information must be available prior to confirmation of payment[1].

      ii.            Specific information about the selling company
In the online store in an easily visible place and prior to the confirmation of the transaction, the basic data of the selling company must be provided[2]:

·         Commercial name and company name of the seller; (yes, the trademark is not enough, you also need the name of the commercial company, or in its absence, of the natural person or persons who commercialize it).

·         Tax ID of the seller.

·         Physical address and e‑mail of the seller.

·         Customer service e‑mail address.

    iii.            Price Information on Products or Services
Always in a place of easy visualization and prior to the confirmation of the transaction you must inform everything about the price of the product or service:

·         The price, including applicable taxes, and any other applicable costs, for example, shipping costs, insurance, etc. Clarification: each item must be itemized, but the total amount to be paid by the consumer must also be provided.

·         Promotions and bonuses, with precise indication of the start and end dates, as well as their modalities, conditions and applicable limitations.

·         The available payment methods, number of installments, applicable interest rate and total financial cost.

Regarding offers and promotions, it should be noted that Resolution 283 (as discussed in the following section) prohibits the use of labels or tags containing information on offers, promotions or discounts whose compliance cannot be guaranteed or assured by the manufacturer or importer in their subsequent marketing.

     iv.            Labels and Tags Audit System
Resolution 283/2021 of the Secretariat of Domestic Trade (“Resolution 283”) created the System for the Inspection of Labels and Tags (“SIFIRE”), whose main purpose is to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the labels and tags, and to guarantee transparency and fair competition among the different goods available on the shelves.

As SIFIRE comes into force on April 30, 2021, the labels and tags of food, beverages, perfumery, grooming, personal care and household cleaning products suitable for consumption must be submitted for approval before being marketed throughout the national territory. The system is mandatory and requires the obliged companies to provide specific documentation of their products, color graphics of the label and label for each of its presentations; data of the importer/manufacturer; brand or model, article or product name, country of origin, description and composition of the manufactured or imported products; complete information of its components, among others, which will have the character of a sworn statement.

       v.            Terms of Contract. Standard Contracts
Section 38 of the Consumer Defense Law No. 24,240 set forth that companies that sell products and services online to consumers shall publish in their online store a copy of the standard contract to be signed by the consumer. In addition to this, Resolution 271 in force since December 7, 2020 indicates how to display these contracts: They must be easily accessible and occupy a prominent place, in terms of “visibility and size”, and must be published in the seller’s Home (i.e., with a link from the Home, but of a direct type and not referring to other internal links, or documents, or to other websites).

·         The consumer must be able to read, download and save them.

As the Terms and Conditions are considered adhesion contracts, this implies that the following must be complied with:

·         They must be published, along with any other general and particular conditions of adhesion predisposed.

·         In the case of registered consumers, the terms of the contract or TAC, as well as any applicable special offers or promotions, must be made available within their registered user account.

·         IMPORTANT! The standard contracts and terms and conditions shall be provided under the following name: “Contratos de adhesión — Ley N° 24.240 de Defensa del Consumidor”.

     vi.            Contract drafting and summary
The Terms and Conditions are Standard Contracts and therefore must comply with these requirements:

·         Shall be complete, clear and easily legible;

·         Not contain references or references to texts or documents that are not delivered or made available on the spot; and

·         Must be “summarized” to the consumer just before the consumer confirms the transaction. The rule states textually that a “brief summary emphasizing the most significant clauses” must be made available.

   vii.            Right of Repentance. Cancellation button [3]
Companies that sell goods and services online must publish a link called “Cancellation Button” on the home page of their websites in a prominent place.[4] by means of which consumers can access a form that allows them to request the revocation of the acceptance of the product purchased or the service contracted. In other words, it is a button for the consumer to “repent” the purchase within the period stipulated by law.

In relation to this matter, we recommend our previous article on the subject available at Lerman&Szlak – cancellation button.  

 viii.            Cancel button[5]
If you sell any of the following services, please note that you are required to include an “Cancel button”:

ü  landline telephone services;

ü  mobile telephone services;

ü  Internet access services;

ü  subscription radio broadcasting services;

ü  prepaid medical services;

ü  subscription services to newspapers or magazines in paper or digital format;

ü  subscription services to databases; travel assistance services;

ü  medical emergency services and/or sanitary transfers of persons;

ü  subscription services to clubs and/or gymnasiums;

ü  credit card issuance contracts with non-bank issuers; and

ü  subscription to periodic donations with automatic debit to civil associations.

The “Cancel Button” consists of a link through which the consumer may request the cancellation of the contracted service. The button must be easily and directly accessible from the seller’s home page.

     ix.            Contact and Attention Channels
The consumer should be provided with contact and attention channels to evacuate possible queries and complaints.
       x.            Federal One-Stop Shop
As of May 29, 2021, companies that sell online must add a link to the Federal One-Stop Shop for consumer complaints under the caption: “Consumer Defense. For claims. Enter here”. In addition, any company to which a claim is initiated must establish an electronic address within 10 working days of being notified (if they have not done before the Prior Conciliation Service in Consumer Relations “COPREC”).[6]

The Federal One-Stop Shop is a channel set up at the national level to receive consumer complaints from all over the country and their subsequent referral to the provincial system.

     xi.            What happens in case of non-compliance?
Non-compliance with the regulations entails warnings or fines ranging from $100 (one hundred pesos) to $5,000,000 (five million pesos). Other possible sanctions are the seizure of goods and products subject to infringement; closure or suspension; and/or loss of concessions, privileges, special tax or credit regimes. In addition, the sanction may require the publication of the sanction in the media.

 

[1] The obligation to provide information was already in force under Section 4 and 10, among others, of the Consumer Defense Law No. 24,240 and Section 1,100 and subsequent articles of the Civil and Commercial Code. However, Resolution 270/2020 of the Secretariat of Domestic Commerce (“Resolution 270” Only available in Spanish at: https://www.boletinoficial.gob.ar/detalleAviso/primera/234662/20200908) regulates this information duty. This resolution became effective on May, 7 and among other issues, specified the details of the information and the manner in which it was to be made visible on the suppliers’ websites.

[2] As in the previous case, this obligation to provide information detailed in Resolution 270 about the selling company was in force in the basic regulations related to Consumer Defense such as the Consumer Defense Law No. 24.240, its related and concordant regulations and the Civil and Commercial Code that regulates consumer relations under Book Three, Title III.

[3] Effective as of Resolution 424/2020 of the Secretariat of Domestic Trade of the Ministry of Productive Development, which came into force on November 29, 2020.

[4]The right of revocation available to consumers who buy online was already provided for in Article 34 of the Consumer Defense Law No. 24,240 and Article 1,110 of the Argentine Civil and Commercial Code and was recently regulated by Resolution 424/2020 of the Secretariat of Domestic Trade (“Resolution 424”).

[5] Effective as of Resolution 271/2020 of the Secretariat of Domestic Trade of the Ministry of Productive Development, which came into force on December 7, 2020.

[6] Resolution 274/2021 of the Secretariat of Domestic Trade of the Ministry of Productive Development.

Angela

About Angela

Angela works closely with Team Lerman & Szlak, specializing in online intellectual property research and content.

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