GRP Rainer LLP

Requirement for Price Description Under Competition Law

A reference to sales tax under the tab “shipping and payment options” might not satisfy legal requirements.


Cologne, NRW -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/22/2013 -- GRP Rainer Lawyers Tax Advisors, Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart explain: The Regional Court of Bochum (LG) ruled in its judgment of July 3, 2012 (Az.: I-17 O 76/12) that the reference to sales tax on a website under the tab “shipping and payment options” did not satisfy legal requirements. This was particularly the case because the page only became visible if the tab was clicked. Thus, the offer could be brought up without this reference becoming visible. It follows that the order transaction could be initiated without having to click on the tab with the reference to sales tax.

The LG had to rule on a case in which a competitor in an online marketplace had offered an item for immediate purchase. Information with a view to sales tax was not to be found directly next to the price, rather in the first instance in the general terms and conditions. The point related to sales tax could only be reached by scrolling down across several screen pages. Additionally, there was a reference to sales tax under the header “shipping and payment options”. By clicking on the field “buy now”, the order transaction could be initiated without any further reference being made to sales tax during the course of the order transaction.

In principle, a reference ought to mention that the price includes sales tax. The reference must be clearly attributable to the offer, easily identifiable and clearly legible or sufficiently perceivable. Even though a direct spatial link with the stated price is not required, the information must be immediately and easily recognizable. Moreover, it is sufficient for the information to be presented in a sufficiently perceivable manner on a separate page if this page must necessarily be brought up before the order transaction is initiated.

It is frequently the case that jurisprudence relating to internet law is inconsistent as between individual courts, as they are faced with the challenge of reconciling all the different areas of the medium that is the internet with the hitherto applicable laws. The resulting diverging jurisprudence leads to greater uncertainty, especially for commercial internet users. A lawyer versed in commercial legal protection can synchronise the relevant legal bases and assert the interests of internet users.

About GRP Rainer LLP
GRP Rainer LLP, is an international firm of lawyers and tax advisors who are specialists in commercial law. The firm counsels commercial and industrial companies and corporations, as well as associations, small- and mid-sized businesses, self-employed freelancers and private individuals worldwide from offices Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Nuremberg and London UK.

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GRP Rainer LLP
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