Your rights on online marketplaces


Online marketplaces such as Amazon and QXL are popular. But does the marketplace have to meet the same requirements as other online stores? Who should you contact if you do not receive the product or if it is defective? And do you have a cooling-off period?

Trendsales, Facebook, Amazon, QXL, Lauritz and dba.dk are among the websites where many Danes trade. But other rules may apply to these online marketplaces than to ordinary online stores. 

This is because the sellers on online marketplaces may be either businesses or private individuals. And the status of the seller has an impact on your consumer rights. Your rights also depend on the role of the website in the transactions.

There are two kinds of online marketplaces:

  • One kind is operated by a commercial seller: The marketplace participates actively in the transactions, e.g. by making a payment system available. On online marketplaces of this type, such as Amazon, you are comprised by the rules on consumer protection as you are trading with a business. If you are trading on a marketplace that does not state who the seller is, you are trading with the marketplace.
  • The other kind of marketplace operates like a bulletin board. The marketplace plays no role in the transaction, except that it makes a website available so that private individuals can trade with each other. An example is dba.dk. The online marketplace does not necessarily receive payment from sellers; payment and exchange of goods takes place directly between buyers and sellers. In this case, no consumer protection rules apply unless the seller is a business.

 

Not all online marketplaces can simply be placed in one or the other of these categories. Some are in a grey zone between seller and bulletin board.

So the obligations of the online marketplace in relation to consumers depend on whether it functions as a seller or simply as a bulletin board. The marketplace can also operate in a grey zone between the two types as a sort of intermediary that participates more or less actively in the transactions. An intermediary may participate actively by e.g. helping to market the products or offering payment via the online marketplace.

Online marketplaces with consumer protection

You are comprised by consumer protection rules when the online marketplace is a seller and in some cases also if it is an active intermediary as described above.

This means that you have a 14-day cooling-off period. If you wish to cancel your purchase, you can do so by contacting the online marketplace. And when you trade with a business in the EU, you always have a legal warranty of at least two years.

This warranty applies to all defects that existed or where the reason for the defect existed when you received the product. It is not possible to shorten the warranty period or to exempt parts of the product from the warranty.

You must contact the seller as soon as possible if you find a defect. If the seller is not willing to remedy the defect and you traded with a seller in the EU, you can complain to European Consumer Centre Denmark

The marketplace must provide information about the properties and price of the product, as well as delivery and payment terms & conditions and your cancellation right. When you receive the product, you must also have detailed information about how to exercise your cancellation right and return the product.

Online marketplaces without consumer protection

If you have traded with a private seller on an online marketplace that simply makes a website available for trading between private individuals, such as dba.dk, the consumer protection rules do not apply. So unless otherwise agreed, you have no cancellation right.

If you have traded with a private seller, you can demand a full or partial refund of your money if you discover a defect in the product for which the seller is responsible. If the seller refuses this, you will have to take your claim to court. 

You may be in a better position if you have agreed on a cooling-off period or right of complaint. Note that although a website has no obligation to offer consumer protection, it may still have introduced trading conditions that give you certain rights or services. 

Your obligations as a seller

Note that you incur certain business obligations if you sell products via online marketplaces that play an active role as intermediaries. This means that you must offer the buyer a 14-day cooling-off period and a two-year legal warranty.

3 tips about online shopping

  • Check out the seller
    Your rights are not the same when trading with a private individual as when trading with a business.
  • Read the terms & conditions for trading
    How does the website describe its own role and the possibilities of cancellation and warranty.
  • Pay by payment card
    If you have paid by payment card, e.g. Visa/Dankort, your bank may be able to transfer the money back to your account if the seller does not deliver the product.

 

 

 

12. October 2016

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