The Polyclay Forum

General Category => The Business End => Topic started by: TheFlo on June 14, 2014, 06:57:39 PM

Title: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: TheFlo on June 14, 2014, 06:57:39 PM
I'm just reading about these new EU online selling regulations.

Errrk - more work to do then.

Here's a link to the Etsy blog post about it (hope its OK Emma to link to this Etsy post - it's quite reader friendly unlike the EU site!) https://blog.etsy.com/uk/2014/06/12/what-etsy-sellers-should-know-about-the-european-unions-new-online-selling-regulations/

Here's the link to the European Commission site: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/consumer-marketing/rights-contracts/directive/index_en.htm

Has anyone started making the changes? The most concerning to me is that we now have to give our address to buyers before they buy - how do we do that without publishing our address online? The Etsy blog post states that there is a slot to do this but I'm guessing that this won't yet apply for other online selling sites.

Jo
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: shelleym on June 15, 2014, 10:50:34 AM
I am trying to work out if I need to do anything for selling at craft fairs! I THINK it seems that if I am selling away from business premises (and unless it's a regular market it counts as away from business premises) the new regs apply for return of goods within 14 days if they decide to reject them - and a year if I don't tell them!!

Good grief!

Haven't even looked at what to change online yet!

Shelley
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: ejralph on June 15, 2014, 04:13:45 PM
Thanks for posting the links - I'll check those out later

I think I am mostly done on the changes we need to make. Reading through the regs though, everything was a bit cobbled together I thought, and at times contradictory.

I suspect this will be another of those ones where even the trading standards offices won't ever be able to agree about the finer details.

Most of it is common sense and good business practice though.

Emma
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: Carrie on June 15, 2014, 04:29:13 PM
Also you have to point out that the buyer must pay return postage if the change their mind.
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: ejralph on June 15, 2014, 06:24:34 PM
Also you have to point out that the buyer must pay return postage if the change their mind.

This was the same in the old Distance Selling Regulations though.

Difference is now, I think, you have to make sure a returns form is available to the customer.

Emma
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: Carrie on June 15, 2014, 08:05:10 PM
Oh yes - l did read that but forgot straightaway ::)
Pointed it all out to hubby for his sadly neglected website.
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: shelleym on June 15, 2014, 08:12:10 PM
Having gone through and been busy updating the website and also reading all the new regs I don't think it applies to 'craft fairs'. It is a little confusing and not very clear, but as I read it, if you regularly do fairs then your business premises is where your craft fair is and the distance regs don't apply. At least that's how I'm going to interpret it until further notice. Otherwise it seems for any purchase over £42 you have to provide all your business terms and conditions and returns policy and a detailed receipt itemising every item. Not easy or even possible in a busy fair.

The main change for online is 14 days instead of 7 for returning goods, provide the terms and conditions in a durable format (not downloadable - has to be sent so customer has a copy - but can be a sent letter or pdf), and have a returns form available. I think that's it!

Shelley



Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: ejralph on June 16, 2014, 09:43:52 AM
It really is a confusing set of regulations - much more so than the old DSR

The whole "durable medium" of providing the terms and conditions is confusing. Some places it says these need to be personally addressed, others that the terms and conditions just need to be "made available"

I think the people writing this stuff don't really appreciate that most businesses cannot just edit their online store checkout flow to the degree they would need to to customise for every new nuance of change.

Generally though, if you apply good business practise anyway, these things shouldn't be an issue.

One thing I cannot work out yet - whether to include a returns form/terms and conditions letter with orders or if linking to the pdf where people can download or save their own copy is enough.

So, Shelley - where you say "pdf is fine" can you elaborate on where you found that out because it is the one aspect I am still confused over and haven't been able to go definitive?

I don't really want to have to take a step backwards, ecologically speaking, and print out a whole page of T&C for people - wasting paper and ink and them having to dispose of it when really anyone capable of ordering through an online store is capable of printing out their own copy of the pdf if they need to.

Emma
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: shelleym on June 16, 2014, 10:27:41 AM
I am not sure where I found it out. It's more my interpretation - or Dale's I think. Something I read somewhere said something along the lines that it has to be something that cannot be changed later by the seller. We have interpreted it that the seller can't just send them to a link that the seller could change at a later date, that they have to physically have a copy of the T&C (either in a durable medium like paper, or on their computer that they can print out). So we think you should be able to e-mail them a pdf file - that theoretically they can't change, and although we can later change our T&C, when their order was placed they have a copy of the T&C that where applicable at their time of ordering that we as sellers haven't changed. Something they can refer back to that they can keep (like they obviously will!) Either printed out with the order (like you say, ink and paper!) or sent in pdf. But not a link to something on the website. So I am trying to work out how to automatically send a pdf when an order is placed. I don't get that many orders, so I may just e-mail it individually.

As for the returns form - I am still unclear about that as well. I am thinking of printing it at the bottom  of the invoice I send out with orders as well as incorporated within the pdf I will e-mail them.

I can see in a way why they have changed things, but it is so bleeeeppping confusing, and difficult to implement. As you say, if you have good business practice it shouldn't be a problem. Communication with the customer is the key, and if it's a bad business no amount of T&C will make any difference. (Mind you Dale is complaining at the moment about a customer who is e-mailing him in German and asking questions and he thinks is having difficulty with the software and is struggling with communication because he (Dale) doesn't speak German  and the customer doesn't speak English - communication is definitely the key!)

If you find anything else about the regs do say. If I am misinterpreting them and you can't send a pdf that's gonna be a pain!!

Shelley




Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: ejralph on June 17, 2014, 09:00:23 AM
I'm having the same trouble wading through it Shelley.

there is also the part somewhere that says the terms and conditions have to be addressed personally to the customer. WTF?

It is just a very poorly organised peice of legislation - I have no problem with the standards it is setting, but some of them just are not practical.

Emma

Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: shelleym on June 17, 2014, 09:46:07 AM
I wonder if emailing a pdf file when the email is addressed to the customer when they order would suffice! Confusing or what. I am personally not going to worry. I've had a peek online at T&C for fairly large bead suppliers in the UK and most don't have a detailed returns policy, and some still say they reserve the right to charge a fee (10 or 15%) for restocking if you return unwanted goods. I know that business to business transactions don't come under the new legislation, but most of the places I've looked at are serving the public.

I will do what I can - which is all that we can do - and hope what we are doing is correct. At least we are making an effort to comply.

Shelley

Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: ejralph on June 17, 2014, 10:03:08 AM
This is my feeling too Shelley

Everything is there in my terms and conditions with links that people can use to download their own copy, that link also emailed to them when ordering. Plus people have to check that they have read and agree to the terms before the store will let them order.

The silly thing is, the good businesses out there don't need this type of red tape - we treat our customers well just because we know it is the right thing to do, not because we "have" to. But it is only the good types of business that will endeavour to ensure they meet the legislation each time anyway. The rip off merchants won't change a thing.

I too have seen some of the larger companies and their terms and conditions. I do a lot of eye-rolling at some of the suppliers out there at times!

Emma
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: Karolina.S on June 17, 2014, 12:15:11 PM
http://giphy.com/gifs/Rhhr8D5mKSX7O
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: ejralph on June 17, 2014, 12:21:20 PM
yup - that's the one!  ::) ::) ::)

Emma
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: Karolina.S on June 17, 2014, 01:15:59 PM
 ;D
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: MrsH on June 19, 2014, 04:56:22 PM
Hello!

I'm going to wade into this debate as I'm currently trying to write an article about the new Consumer Contracts regulations that replaced the DSRs on the 13th too, but I'm guessing it's the same legislation as the EU directive?! I think, do I think maybe, or hum not!! yes it sounds the same but under a different title.

Do I care well no! should I care, guess I have no choice. I'm with you Emma it's a right pain in the backside for all those great online retailers who care about their customers and the bad ones, well they just won't bother amending their practises because hey they don't follow the current ones! So wheres the point.

Ooh ok, rant over.

Out of interest does anyone else know if this Directive on Consumer rights is exactly the same as the new Consumer Contracts regulations? They both came into effect on the 13th June.

Interestingly, the returns issue has gone to 14 calendar days (so not working days), so it's not bad as it looks as previously it was 7 working days, which if you include the weekend is 9 calendar days anyway.

Man I hate having to write about this stuff as it's so easy to get it wrong!
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: MrsH on June 19, 2014, 05:29:06 PM
Okay so I'm just reading through the EU directive and as it turns out it's the guidance document provided by the EU that forms the basis for the new regulations that each member country is meant to write and implement by the 13th June. So the Directive and the Consumer Contracts Regulations technically are the same thing!

It's the Consumer Contracts Regulations (CCR) that is the UK legislation, here's the link https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/310044/bis-13-1368-consumer-contracts-information-cancellation-and-additional-payments-regulations-guidance.pdf (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/310044/bis-13-1368-consumer-contracts-information-cancellation-and-additional-payments-regulations-guidance.pdf) Sorry the link's so long! it's to the pdf version of the document.

Emma I've found the info about providing information and you don't have to send personalised T&C's as long as the email with your T&C's has gone to a persons email account.

Here's the paragraph copied and pasted from the CCR doc

G. Providing Information

Provision on a durable medium

1. The purpose of the ‘durable medium’ requirement is to ensure that, should a dispute arise at some point after the contract has been concluded, both parties have a record about what was agreed. The burden of proof that the relevant information has been provided rests with the trader. A durable medium allows the consumer to access information directed personally to them, in an unchangeable format for as long as they might reasonably need it.

2. A durable medium allows, amongst other things, for information to be addressed personally to the recipient. Although information should be personally directed to the consumer, (for instance in an email, letter or personal account) the information itself need not be exclusive or tailored to the consumer, in the same way that a letter directed specifically to a customer can include standard terms and conditions.

I am a trader selling online and off-premises. I am trying to move away from a paper-based system. How can I meet my obligations to provide information on a durable medium?

3. The regulations require confirmations for distance contracts and off-premises contracts to be provided on a durable medium4. The confirmation is additional to the information you must give the consumer before making the sale. You do not need to include this information in your confirmation if you have already provided it on a durable medium pre contract.

4. There are a number of ways in which the trader can meet their obligation to ensure that they provide the relevant information in a durable medium.

o A letter is a durable medium. Sending it is provision of that medium. Provided the trader took reasonable care to send it to the address given to them by the consumer the trader is likely to have met their obligation.

o A CD/DVD is a durable medium. Sending it is provision of that medium. Even if the consumer does not have a CD/DVD player, the information has still been provided.

o An email is a durable medium. However, information contained via link to a website which may change, and which is embedded in an email is not. Sending the email to the address given by the consumer is provision of that medium. If the consumer does not look at their email account, or deletes the email, the information has nevertheless been provided on the durable medium.

o A text message is a durable medium. Sending it to the consumer’s notified telephone number is provision.

o A ‘personal account’ (such as those used by phone companies for online billing) on a trader website can be, or include an aspect which is a durable medium. It must be capable of storing information personal to the consumer, in a format which will be left unchanged and remain accessible to the consumer for a reasonable amount of time. Placing the information in the relevant part of the personal account is the provision of the information on the durable medium so that if the consumer wants to see it they have to log into it (in a similar way that they have to open emails, a letter or a text).

4 For off-premises contracts the consumer must agree to receive information on a durable medium other than paper.

Phew, straightforward then!  :o

Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: shelleym on June 19, 2014, 05:35:54 PM
From what I can see they are one and the same. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/310044/bis-13-1368-consumer-contracts-information-cancellation-and-additional-payments-regulations-guidance.pdf

Interesting lot of FAQ helps with some of the things we were talking about.

Shelley
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: shelleym on June 19, 2014, 05:36:48 PM
We both posted at more or less the same time!!

Shelley

Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: ejralph on June 20, 2014, 09:10:21 AM
Crazy then that you can supply the terms and conditions on a CD Rom, irrespective that the customer might not have facilities to read it - and you've met your obligations.

Yet, provide a link to a PDF that they can save, print or whatever - and no, you've not met the obligations.

Crazy stuff.

Looks like I'll have to be printing up the Ts&Cs to include in people's parcels since there literally is no easy way to edit our order confirmation emails to include this stuff. I guess I can stuff it into the order despatched email, but its pretty clunky

Emma
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: shelleym on June 20, 2014, 11:05:08 AM
I'm just going to email it to them. That way it's to an individual person.

I still haven't worked out what I what I need to show/explain at craft fairs though. And I have a feeling house parties work in the same way as 'off premises' and will need all the T&C explained and a returns form!! Since I haven't done a house party for ages I'm not that bothered ATM but coming the autumn I'm likely to have more and need to work out what I should be doing.

I THINK for fairs all I need to do is make sure I have all my contact details available. I THINK that is!!

Shelley


Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: ejralph on June 20, 2014, 04:10:41 PM
bleeped if I know Shelley - I just skimmed it for the distance selling areas I think.

Maybe you just need to print up your T&C and returns forum and include it with any sale? Add in some marketing bumpf whilst you're at it!

Emma
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: Helenka on June 25, 2014, 01:38:12 PM
Boy this is all rather a faff. No wonder so many people are fed up with the EU. I have changed it from 7 to 14 days and have the most important info for customer - i.e. their right to cancel and return goods within 14 days of receipt as footnote in my letters that go with every order. So now I have to create a pdf of my T&Cs as well? It's a lot of faff. People can't check a tick box when ordering - I asked my web designer when he created the website and he said the platform didn't allow it. Personally I am not fond of ticking boxes - as most T&Cs are ridiculously long I tend not to read them (maybe that's why the new law insists on a printable copy). I guess I best copy my own T&Cs and convert them into pdf I then email to customer. I rarely do craft fairs - sometimes have home parties - and the customers tend to be loyal shoppers. So won't worry too much about that. Red tape is really killing small businesses.
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: ejralph on June 26, 2014, 09:50:03 AM
I don't think you need to create a PDF if you are emailing a copy of your Ts&Cs to customers when they order.

As for the check boxes issue. I have a box people need to check when placing an order to say they have read and agreed to the Terms and conditions. I didn't used to have it - like you, found those things annoying. But from a business point of view, experience taught me that we need it. Because the odd customer out there will try to make the seller pay for their own reluctance to read things properly before ordering.

I've had instances where overseas customer have ordered stuff, then complained to me that it didn't arrive the next day for their wedding, or customers that have tried to blackmail me with threats that they would blacken my name online if I didn't do this, that or the other for them. And I'm won't have that sort of behaviour from people. At EJR Beads, the customer is NOT always right. Whoever is right is right - if its my bad, I will pay and step up to make things right. But if it's the customer's bad because they couldn't be bothered to read that we are based in the UK or that orders take X amount of time to arrive - well, that is their mistake and they pay.

The checkbox is the only way of pushing that point home and encouraging people to be proactive in understanding their side of the contract they are entering into.

Most people - 99.9 percent, don't need it. But that tiny minority that do can cause an awful lot of expensive and time-wasting problems for sellers.

Consequently, I am a lot more sympathetic now when I see those boxes on other websites too because I know the other side and some of the ridiculous stuff you can get from some people if you don't make them acknowledge that they are responsible for reading the terms they are entering into before entering into them.

(Actually, my mum is TERRIBLE for this. She has so many disappointing shopping experiences online and on ebay simply because she won't blinking read the info before hitting the Buy button! I've had many a heated debate with her, each time she gets on her high horse about something and starts Negging an ebay seller for her own cockup! I think she is slowly starting to learn to read the descriptions and so on though!!!)

Emma
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: Helenka on June 28, 2014, 01:04:00 PM
Emma I fully understand - I asked for a check box and it was not doable on my website. However I point at my T&Cs everywhere. And I guesss really the best thing for me now is to copy them and convert them into pdf and just send them to customers who order. Then they can't say they didn't get them:)
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: ejralph on June 29, 2014, 10:15:51 AM
Sending a link to a PDF isn't allowed - you have to either email them the pdf file, or the text of the terms into the body of that email. Or print them to paper and include with the order.

Crazy I know, but they need to be sent a copy of the terms as they are when they ordered that cannot be changed by you later.

so a link to a web page or PDF won't work because you could, theoretically, change the terms later without them knowing and it wouldnt be a fair record of the contract they entered into

Emma
Title: Re: New EU online selling regulations June 2014
Post by: AfroByte on November 23, 2014, 03:01:55 PM
This is just such a load of rubbish.

Since June I have bought loads of stuff online. I have not received any separate documents on the T&C's etc. in the parcel, nor via email. I bet many people don't even know about the new rules. I sure did not until I opened my new Etsy shop.