Buying or selling online

Last modified:

Thursday 31 October 2019

E-commerce (FR) allows you, as a consumer or a company, to forge commercial relationships online.  Whether it relates to a sale offer, the conclusion of a contract, or the online delivery of the service or product ordered, electronic commerce opens up many new possibilities for consumers and retailers.

Advantages

  • The seller has a cheap expansion option.
  • The customers can easily access a wide range of products and services.
  • The consumer can contact retailers anywhere in the world from their own home.

Disadvantages

  • Not all websites provide the same guarantees concerning the protection of consumer rights.
  • The lack of confidentiality of private data.

Good practices in e-commerce

E-commerce is becoming increasingly widespread and, with it, increasingly fraudulent practices are appearing.

In order to limit wrongdoing related to online purchases as much as possible, SPF Économie has introduced the Infoshopping (FR) website to allow consumers to find answers to the questions they have concerning e-commerce.

The website also targets traders and companies wanting to get into e-commerce.

Legal framework

European Directive 2000/31/EC on e-commerce (FR) has been transposed into Belgian legislation.

These texts define the fundamental concepts underpinning e-commerce, and set out various types of requirements regarding consumer protection.  The trader:

  • must provide consumers with information and transparency;
  • must respect regulations concerning "advertising on networks": for example, in terms of unsolicited advertising sent by email (spamming).

Legal texts are also used to remove obstacles to the conclusion of contracts electronically, and determine the responsibility and obligations of intermediaries such as site hosts, access providers, etc.

Provisions have also been taken to regulate electronic payments (FR).

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