The following text is provided in English for international business sellers.
Under EU consumer protection law, business sellers who sell items over the internet to consumers must provide their customers with information about their business, their contact details and provide further details that may be important to complete the transaction prior to the conclusion of the contract.
Please note that eBay reserves the right to delete or block certain listings, which appear to not meet statutory requirements for online B2C Sale. This might especially apply to possible cases of invalid notifications about the consumer’s withdrawal rights.
Here you find the Product Safety Guidance for Sellers, listing on the US, EU and AU sites.
When do EU consumer protection laws apply?
EU consumer protection laws are always applicable when a business seller sells to consumers residing in the EU, regardless from where he is operating his business (e.g. US, China, Hong Kong, etc.).
On eBay, a business seller sells to consumers residing in the EU when he:
- Lists items on an eBay website directed at any EU country or
- Offers worldwide shipping and makes clear reference to customers residing within the EU (for example by the language of the listing and by mentioning special shipping rates to the EU, etc.).
If you do not sell your goods to consumers residing within the EU, these laws do not apply to you. You should take the following measures:
- Do not list your items on any eBay website directed at any EU country (including, for example, eBay.co.uk, eBay.de, eBay.fr, eBay.es, eBay.it, eBay.nl, eBay.be, eBay.ie, eBay.at, eBay.pl).
- When offering worldwide shipping, you should exclude shipping to EU countries in your listings by deselecting the corresponding shipping options in your listings. It is also advisable to add a disclaimer to your listings stating that you will not ship any items to customers within the EU.
When do I act as a business seller on eBay?
You typically act as a business seller, if you
- buy goods to resell them on eBay.
- sell goods which you have manufactured.
- regularly sell large amounts of goods.
- sell identical or similar items (especially new and unused items) over a longer period of time.
- are an eBay sales agent.
- buy goods for your company.
Indicators of commercial activity due to German legislation:
- being a PowerSeller
- operating an eBay-shop
- number of current sales: steady sale of a high number of goods
- type of items sold (new or used; value): the selling of a number of similar navigation devices was classified as evidence of commercial activity – as well as the quotation of 250 batteries in different sizes with reference to the availability of larger quantities.
- a professional website or the usage of professional advertisement
Please note: This list is not exhaustive and other activities may mean that you are operating as a business. If this is the case, you'll be obliged to fulfill the information obligations on this site.
If any of the above applies, then you have a legal obligation to declare yourself as a business seller. Declaring yourself as a private seller, even though you are acting as a business, is misleading to potential consumers and breaks consumer protection law and eBay policies.
As a seller, you are obliged to hand over the goods to the buyer free of defects - regardless of whether you are a private or commercial seller.
If the goods are defective at the time of delivery to the buyer, the buyer is entitled to warranty claims. In the event of a defect in the delivery of the goods, the buyer may, in principle:
- Either demand delivery of a new item or repair of the defective item (so-called supplementary performance claim)
- In the event of failure, impossibility or refusal of supplementary performance by the Seller to withdraw from the contract or reduce the purchase price
- If the seller is at fault the buyer can demand compensation for damages or reimbursement of futile expenses.
For these claims, a warranty period of two years applies in principle. Inform about this right, but do not present it as a special feature of the offer.
What information do I have to provide?
As a business seller you have to provide the following information in a clear and comprehensible manner in all your listings:
1. Contact details
- company name and (if applicable) the full name(s) of the legal representative(s) of the company
- the geographic address of the company (a PO Box is not sufficient)
- contact details, including an email address, telephone number, fax number
- the company registration number and register(if applicable)
- if applicable, details of any responsible chamber of commerce including the applicable laws and the applicable job title
- if applicable, details of any authorization scheme that the service provider is subject to, including the name of the relevant authority
- the company Value Added Tax identification number(if applicable)
- Information on the existence of the ODR platform(if applicable)
- this information has to be in German or English
Please include this information in every listing in Latin characters.
2. Clear indications of prices
Prices have to be clear and unambiguous. Also, as a business seller you have to state whether prices include taxes and delivery costs. You should also mention any other costs which the buyer may need to pay (e.g. customs/import tax and fees). Goods, which are priced according to weight, volume et cetera are additionally to be listed with the corresponding unit price (price per 100 ml or 1 liter for fluids, price per 100g or 1 kg for solids).
3. Information about the consumer’s right of withdrawal
If you sell over the internet to consumers residing within the European Union you have to offer consumers a right of withdrawal. This means that the buyer can return the item within a certain timeframe without giving any reasons. Generally speaking the seller has to refund the full price of the item as well as the shipping costs to the buyer, unless the item is returned in a damaged condition. According to Distance Selling Regulations, consumers who purchase new or used goods from a business seller via the Internet have a 14-day (not 14 business days) right of withdrawal. The consumer has the right to withdraw from the purchase without giving any reason in order to return the delivered goods and to claim a full refund of the purchase price. This withdrawal period begins when the consumer has been informed about their right of withdrawal and the goods have been handed over to the consumer. In general the buyer bears the return shipping costs if the seller informed the buyer accordingly. The seller may decide to bear the return shipping costs by choosing that option in the instructions on withdrawal and the structured fields.
In order to comply with the legal requirements, business sellers may use the following return policy template, provided by the legislator.
Include ONLY the German Wording (left part of the table) in your Return Policy Field. The English version is for information and translation purposes only. Amend the information in the red text as follows:
- Choose the scope of application:You are legally obliged to give consumers the right to withdrawal but there is no legal obligation towards business buyers. If you want to give this right to business buyers as well, delete the first sentence. Otherwise, the right to withdrawal only applies to consumers.
- Choose the Timeframe for Withdrawal:
Choose either “vierzehn Tage” (14 days), “einen Monat” (1 month) or “sechzig Tage” (60 days). Remove the value you have not chosen. The choice must be the same for both placements. Please ensure that the value you pick here is consistent with the value you pick in the structured fields.
- Amend your Contact Details: Replace the information in the [ ] brackets. Nothing but your contact details should be inside of the ( ) brackets.
- Insert Different Address if necessary: In case you want the buyer to return the item to a different address than the one specified earlier in the text, include the other address here. If you don’t want this, please delete the words “oder an” and the text in [ ] brackets.
- Choose who bears return Shipping Costs Choose who bears the costs for return shipping by selecting the text of one of the options. Delete the text of the other option and the words “Option A” or “Option B” for the option you picked. Please ensure that the value you pick here is consistent with the value you pick in the structured fields.
- Amend your Contact Details in the Muster-Widerrufsformular: Replace the information in the [ ] brackets with your contact details.
Important: Don't provide a telephone number within the withdrawal form.
For detailed advice on regulations and the application of legal requirements on your specific product and sale setting, please reach out to your qualified DE legal counsel.
|Widerrufsbelehrung||Instructions on Withdrawal|
Verbrauchern steht das nachfolgende Widerrufsrecht zu:
Consumers have the following right of withdrawal:
Right of withdrawal
Sie haben das Recht, binnen vierzehn Tagen/eines Monats/60 Tagen ohne Angabe von Gründen diesen Vertrag zu widerrufen.
You have the right to withdraw from this contract within 14 days/1 month/60 days without giving any reason.
Die Widerrufsfrist beträgt vierzehn Tage/einen Monat/60 Tage ab dem Tag, an dem Sie oder ein von Ihnen benannter Dritter, der nicht der Beförderer ist, die Waren in Besitz genommen haben bzw. hat.
The withdrawal period will expire after 14 days/1 month/60 days from the day on which you acquire, or a third party other than the carrier and indicated by you acquires, physical possession of the goods.
Um Ihr Widerrufsrecht auszuüben, müssen Sie uns ([Name/Unternehmen], [Anschrift – kein Postfach], [Telefonnummer], [Telefaxnummer – falls vorhanden], [E-Mail-Adresse]) mittels einer eindeutigen Erklärung (z. B. ein mit der Post versandter Brief, Telefax oder E-Mail) über Ihren Entschluss, diesen Vertrag zu widerrufen, informieren.
To exercise the right of withdrawal, you must inform us ([full name/company], [geographical address – no PO box], [telephone number], [fax number – if you have one], [e-mail address.]) of your decision to withdraw from this contract by an unequivocal statement (e.g. a letter sent by post, fax or e-mail).
Sie können dafür das beigefügte Muster-Widerrufsformular verwenden, das jedoch nicht vorgeschrieben ist.
You may use the attached model withdrawal form at the end, but it is not obligatory.
Zur Wahrung der Widerrufsfrist reicht es aus, dass Sie die Mitteilung über die Ausübung des Widerrufsrechts vor Ablauf der Widerrufsfrist absenden.
To meet the withdrawal deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right of withdrawal before the withdrawal period has expired.
Folgen des Widerrufs
Effects of withdrawal
Wenn Sie diesen Vertrag widerrufen, haben wir Ihnen alle Zahlungen, die wir von Ihnen erhalten haben, einschließlich der Lieferkosten (mit Ausnahme der zusätzlichen Kosten, die sich daraus ergeben, dass Sie eine andere Art der Lieferung als die von uns angebotene, günstigste Standardlieferung gewählt haben), unverzüglich und spätestens binnen vierzehn Tagen ab dem Tag zurückzuzahlen, an dem die Mitteilung über Ihren Widerruf dieses Vertrags bei uns eingegangen ist. Für diese Rückzahlung verwenden wir dasselbe Zahlungsmittel, das Sie bei der ursprünglichen Transaktion eingesetzt haben, es sei denn, mit Ihnen wurde ausdrücklich etwas anderes vereinbart; in keinem Fall werden Ihnen wegen dieser Rückzahlung Entgelte berechnet.
If you withdraw from this contract, we shall reimburse to you all payments received from you, including the costs of delivery (with the exception of the supplementary costs resulting from your choice of a type of delivery other than the least expensive type of standard delivery offered by us), without undue delay and in any event not later than 14 days from the day on which we are informed about your decision to withdraw from this contract. We will carry out such reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used for the initial transaction, unless you have expressly agreed otherwise; in any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of such reimbursement.
Wir können die Rückzahlung verweigern, bis wir die Waren wieder zurückerhalten haben oder bis Sie den Nachweis erbracht haben, dass Sie die Waren zurückgesandt haben, je nachdem, welches der frühere Zeitpunkt ist.
We may withhold reimbursement until we have received the goods back or you have supplied evidence of having sent back the goods, whichever is the earliest.
Sie haben die Waren unverzüglich und in jedem Fall spätestens binnen vierzehn Tagen ab dem Tag, an dem Sie uns über den Widerruf dieses Vertrags unterrichten, an uns oder an [hier sind gegebenenfalls der Name und die Anschrift der von Ihnen zur Entgegennahme der Waren ermächtigten Person einzufügen] zurückzusenden oder zu übergeben. Die Frist ist gewahrt, wenn Sie die Waren vor Ablauf der Frist von vierzehn Tagen absenden.
You shall send back the goods or hand them over to us or [insert the name and geographical address, where applicable, of the person authorized by you to receive the goods], without undue delay and in any event not later than 14 days from the day on which you communicate your withdrawal from this contract to us. The deadline is met if you send back the goods before the period of 14 days has expired.
Sie müssen für einen etwaigen Wertverlust der Waren nur aufkommen, wenn dieser Wertverlust auf einen zur Prüfung der Beschaffenheit, Eigenschaften und Funktionsweise der Waren nicht notwendigen Umgang mit ihnen zurückzuführen ist.
You are only liable for any diminished value of the goods resulting from the handling other than what is necessary to establish the nature, characteristics and functioning of the goods.
Model Withdrawal Form
(Wenn Sie den Vertrag widerrufen wollen, dann füllen Sie bitte dieses Formular aus und senden Sie es zurück.)
|(complete and return this form only if you wish to withdraw from the contract)
– An [Name/Unternehmen], [Adresse – kein Postfach], [Faxnummer – falls vorhanden], [E-Mail-Adresse – falls vorhanden]:
– To [Name/Company], [Physical Address – no PO Box], [fax number – if you have one], [E-Mail Address – if you have one]:
– Hiermit widerrufe(n) ich/wir (*) den von mir/uns (*) abgeschlossenen Vertrag über den Kauf der folgenden Waren (*)/die Erbringung der folgenden Dienstleistung (*)
– I/We (*) hereby give notice that I/We (*) withdraw from my/our (*) contract of sale of the following goods (*)/for the provision of the following service (*),
– Bestellt am (*)/erhalten am (*)
– Name des/der Verbraucher(s)
– Anschrift des/der Verbraucher(s)
– Unterschrift des/der Verbraucher(s) (nur bei Mitteilung auf Papier)
– Ordered on (*)/received on (*),
– Name of consumer(s),
– Address of consumer(s)
– Signature of consumer(s) (only if this form is notified on paper),
(*) Unzutreffendes streichen.
(*) Delete as appropriate.
For detailed advice on regulations and the application of legal requirements on your specific product and sale setting, please reach out to your qualified DE legal counsel.
4. Terms and Conditions
If you offer certain terms and conditions, these have to be included in your listing. Failure to properly include the terms and conditions may result in them being void and not enforceable against buyers. Please be aware that terms and conditions need to be provided in German in order to become valid parts of the contract. Furthermore, German law provides that many clauses are invalid even if properly implemented because they are deemed to be unfair. Please contact a qualified German legal counsel for details.
Where does this information have to be provided?
The information described above has to be included in all of your listings.
To provide the information you can use the following table. Simply use and fill in the appropriate fields and copy and paste the table into your item description. Please use German or English language for completing this table.
Trade registration number:
Value Added Tax ID number:
Please use the returns policy template offered by the German legislator (see above)
Terms & conditions
Please use the free form text field in the business seller framework for your terms and conditions.
5. Product-specific Information
Common product-specific regulations in Germany are (non-exhaustive list of examples):
- The German Batteries Act stipulates that distributors (including merchants that import goods into Germany) of products that contain built in batteries or accumulators must provide certain information to consumers and take back used batteries and arrange for their recycling.
- The EU Toys Ordinance prohibits the sale of toys, which endanger the safety and health of children, including detailed restrictions or limits on certain chemical substances contained within toys. Applies to manufacturers and to merchants who are selling toys under their own name or brand
- The EU Packaging Ordinance obligates manufacturers and distributors to accept the return of packaging and arrange the recycling in cooperation with a collection scheme service provider.
- The German Electro Act stipulates that manufacturers and distributors of new electric and electronic devices (also electric cables etc.) have to be centrally registered and mark their products with a corresponding registration number to ensure return and recycling of used devices.
- The EU textile labeling ordinance obligates manufacturers and distributors of textiles (clothing) to list details about the fiber composition (e.g. cotton, synthetic fibers) in the listing and as mark on the product.
- The German Price indication ordinance regulates the way prices have to be displayed to buyers (e.g. regulation regarding the display of base prices and the fact whether a price includes VAT or not).
6. Specific obligations to inform when selling electronic and electric devices
As a business seller you have a legal obligation to show extensive energy labelling information for the following electronic and electric products, when you sell them as new items
- household refrigerators and freezers
- household washing machines, clothes dryer and household washer-driers
- household dishwashers
- lighting equipment
- household ovens
- room air conditioners (air conditioners)
Important: not every single product in these categories is affected – law distinguishes between certain technical aspects of the devices. There is no obligation to inform for used devices.
The information must be provided before the contract is concluded with the customer, in a clear and readable way.
Since January 1st, 2015, distributors are obliged to show the *energy efficiency class* for each device, which is brought to market with a new model number, through a standardized electronic label. Besides that, sellers have to show a *product data sheet* with additional energy-relevant information. There is an obligation to show these labels even for older models, when the manufacturer provides those labels voluntarily.
eBay offers – in collaboration with an external service provider – the possibility to show the energy-relevant information for certain products. As a seller you have the possibility to embed the electronic label and product data sheet into your item page on eBay. For that you are required to provide the brand of the device and the manufacturer part number (MPN) as an item specific, as far as this data is available in the database.
The seller is responsible for his listing. He has to make sure that the electronic label and product data sheet is available on his item page through the service provider. If the service provider can’t provide these information, the seller must provide the required information on his own, for example in the item description or as a product picture (please consult with your attorney if such a display fulfills the legal requirements).
Online Dispute Resolution and Alternative Dispute Resolution: requirements imposed on eBay-business sellers
Since January 9th 2016 the EU-Regulation 524/2013 on Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) states more legal information obligations for sellers located in the EU that enter into online sales contracts (e.g. sell goods and services on eBay) On February 1st 2017, the paragraphs 36 and 37 of the Consumer Dispute Resolution Act (so-called “Verbraucherstreitbeilegungsgesetz”) will come into force and will possibly set up further information requirements for business sellers on eBay regarding the so called “Alternative Dispute Resolution”.
Please be aware that the following information can merely be regarded as general advice that cannot substitute legal consultation. If you have further questions, please consult your lawyer or any other legal advice office.
- Information obligations according to ODR-Regulation
- Information obligations according to VSBG
- Practical implementation on eBay
Information obligation according to ODR-VO
According to Article 14 of the above named Resolution, business sellers on eBay are obliged to provide a link to the Online Dispute Resolution platform in an “easily accessible way”. As a business seller on eBay, you have the opportunity to provide this link in the item description (as a clickable link), in the field “additional, legally required information” (as clickable link; please consult your lawyer whether such a link fulfils the legal requirement of easy access) within the seller information and additionally (if applicable) in your general terms and conditions.
Besides, business sellers are obliged to provide their email address as well as information both about the existence of the ODR-platform as well as the possibility to use it for the resolution of disputes.
Information obligations according to VSBG
As of April 1st, 2016, the Consumer Dispute Settlement Act came into force.
In addition, on February 2nd, 2017, the §§ 36, 37 of the above-mentioned Act will come into force and will lay down further information requirements for business sellers.
According to § 36 VSBG, traders, including business sellers on eBay, are obliged to inform about their voluntary willingness or their legal obligation to take part in the proceedings before ADR entities. This information obligation exists regardless of the willingness or the legal obligation. The notice can be given – if applicable – within the general terms and conditions as well as on the traders’ website.
If the respective trader committed himself or is legally obliged to take part in the dispute resolution proceedings, an additional notice is to be provided regarding the ADR entity by which he is covered.
Regardless of the general information obligation following § 36 VSBG, according to § 37 VSBG, the trader has to point out to the consumer both the entity, by which he is covered as well as the willingness or legal obligation in textual form, if a contractual dispute between them could not be resolved by the parties themselves.
Practical implementation on eBay
Business sellers can fulfil these information obligations either by putting the above link or the essential information according to Art. 14 of the ODR and § 36 VSBG in the item description or in the field “additional, legally required information” within the imprint. Overall, the information mentioned should preferably be published coherently.
If you make use of the field “additional, legally required information”, you can apply the following HTML-Code in order to comply with the above named ODR linking-obligations. For similar linking obligation please use a corresponding version the following HTML-Code:
<a href=“https://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/” target=“_blank”>https://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/</a>
This practice does not violate our links policy for links to external websites, as the placing of the link is legally required.
New German Packaging Act: Impact on eBay sellers
On January 1st, 2019, the new German Packaging Act will come into force, replacing the old Packaging Ordinance and placing further requirements on online retailers and others.
Please note that the following information is only general information and cannot replace legal advice. If you have any further questions, please contact a lawyer.
Who is affected by the new Act?
The Packaging Act covers anyone who places packaging filled with goods, which accumulates at the private end consumer, on the market in Germany for the first time. Since this packaging also includes shipping packaging, eBay sellers are also affected by the law.
Private end consumers within the meaning of the law are not only consumers, but also “equal sources of waste”, i.e. places where such packaging typically occurs as in private households, such as cinemas, restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, canteens, hospitals, etc.
Packaging is placed on the market for the first time under the Packaging Act when it is sold commercially to a third party for the first time in Germany. Therefore, not only the manufacturer but also the initial distributor or importer can be required to register packaging under the Packaging Act.
Steps of action for commercial eBay sellers?
- Register packaging with a System (e.g. “Gruener Punkt”: https://www.gruener-punkt.de/, Landbell: https://www.landbell.de/)
- Register at the Central Office (“Zentrale Stelle”)
- Report volume of packaging placed on the market
- Declaration of completeness to the Central Office (“Zentrale Stelle”)
What are the consequences of violating the Packaging Act?
Non-compliance automatically results in a distribution ban of non-registered packaging. There may be fines imposed of up to € 200,000 per case. Additionally, cease-and-desist claims may be filed. The distribution ban applies not only to the manufacturer of the packaging, but also to every subsequent retailer.
Please find further information here: https://www.verpackungsregister.org/information-orientierung/hilfe-erklaerung/how-to-guide
EU Geoblocking Regulation: Impact for eBay sellers
The purpose of the Geoblocking Regulation is to counteract different treatment of customers within the European Economic Area on grounds of nationality, residence or place of establishment. The Geoblocking Regulation is in force from December 3rd, 2018.
What sales are covered by the Geoblocking Regulation?
The Geoblocking Regulation applies to sales by commercial sellers to customers with residence in the European Economic Area (EEA, i.e. EU member states plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).
What online sellers need to change
- No restriction of the buyer group based on residence Online sellers may not exclude customers residing in the EEA on the grounds of their nationality, residence or place of establishment. However, this does not mean that sellers must offer shipping to each of these countries.
- Same terms of payment Sellers may not restrict the means of payment available to customers with respect to the country they live, have their bank account, their means of payment is issued, etc. However, this only applies to the extent that
- the payment transaction is made through an electronic transaction by credit transfer, direct debit or a card-based payment instrument within the same payment brand and category;
- authentication requirements are fulfilled and
- the payment transactions are in a currency that the seller accepts.
What online sellers do not need to change
- There is no obligation to offer shipping to every country in the EEA
- Different offers on different country pages are permitted
- Different pricing on different country pages is permitted
- Different shipping costs to different delivery locations are permitted
- Statutory sales restrictions and national price fixing for individual goods in individual EEA States remain unaffected by the Regulation. For detailed advice on regulations and the application of legal requirements on your specific product and sale setting, please reach out to your qualified DE legal counsel. If you do not have a related contact in your country, the German Embassies or the German Chamber of Commerce (AHK) can mediate a relevant contact to DE business lawyers in your country.
What happens if I do not comply with the law?
Failure to comply with these legal obligations can lead to costly warning letters and cease-and-desist claims from competitors and certain consumer protection agencies. It could also lead to court proceedings and penalties. Please be aware that eBay may take action against business sellers who are not compliant with the law.
For detailed advice on regulations and the application of legal requirements on your specific product and sale setting, please reach out to your qualified DE legal counsel. If you do not have a related contact in your country, the German Embassies or the German Chamber of Commerce (AHK) can mediate a relevant contact to DE business lawyers in your country.