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The regulations of the online shop

by Piotr Kopec

The regulations of the online shop is a very important document in the functioning of the online shop in Poland. Running an online shop, due to its specific market, is governed by numerous legal provision of Polish law. Among them the most important are related to the consumer protection standards. Below I would like to present the basic rules that in Poland shape the functioning of entities running online shop in scope of the Regulations of the online shop.

The regulations of the online shop can be defined as a set of norms and rules contained in a single document and regulating the way of making transactions on a particular website. The Regulations deals with issues such as customer communication, rules of making payments, delivery rules or personal data collection. It is important to stress that such a Regulations must be written in an understandable language and be clear enough for the customer. All the rules and restrictions connected with using the abovementioned Regulations of online shop are connected with the Polish consumer protection law. In Poland the consumers are covered by special protection and must be informed of all the issues that the Polish law considers necessary.

It leads us the question what the obligatory of the Regulations of online shops are. First of all it must be underlined that in Poland there is no one legal acts that regulates this question. In Poland the rules on preparation the Regulations of online shops are covered mainly by the following acts: Polish Civil Code, Polish Act on competition and consumer protection, Polish Act on copyrights and related rights and Polish Act on provision of services by electronic means.

Taking into consideration the abovementioned acts of Polish law, the of the Regulations of online shop should mainly contain the following information:

– the main characteristics of the services of products,

– data identifying the seller, in particular the address of the company, the email address and telephone numbers,

– the total price or remuneration for the services of products including taxes, as well as transport, delivery, postal and other costs,

– information about methods and periods of payments,

– information how and when to exercise the right of withdrawal, as well as the pattern of the withdrawal form,

– exceptions for which no right of withdrawal is granted in accordance with Polish law,

– content of the warranty and after-sales services and how they are implemented,

– the duration of the contract or the manner and the grounds for its termination – if it is concluded for an indefinite period of time,

– the possibility of using out-of-court complaint and redress procedures and access to these procedures.

It must be stressed that the Regulations of the online shop shall no include the abusive clauses that can be treated as infringing the buyer’s rights. Polish law recognizes the abusive clauses as the ones concluded with the consumer, not individually agreed with him, which shape his rights and obligations in a manner contrary to good morals, grossly in violation of his interests.

The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection carries out regular inspections of patterns used in consumer contracts by entrepreneurs operating in many industries, in particular online shops. These are often the result of notices addressed to the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection by consumers, consumer ombudsmen, the Financial Ombudsman or consumer organizations. As a consequence, the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection will initiate administrative proceedings on the recognition the clause of the Regulations of the online shop as abusive. As a result there can be a fine imposed on such a entrepreneur who uses abusive clauses.

So how to create good online store Regulations? The correct online store Regulations should contain all the information required by applicable law. In order to avoid the use of illegal contract terms, it is worth checking the register of abusive clauses available on the website of The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. In addition, in order to avoid duplication of errors used by other entrepreneurs, do not just copy the Regulations of existing online shops as many of them contain abusive clauses and are not consistent with Polish law. It is worth to ask a Polish lawyer for assistance in preparation of the Regulation of online shop and consultation if some clauses can be recognized as abusive or not.

Piotr Kopec
Licensed Legal Advisor specializing in advisory for entrepreneurs. Good English-speaker who previously worked for European Commission. Fun of sport and good literature.