Euro-Label Germany
EHI Retail Institute GmbH
Spichernstraße 55
D-50672 Köln/Germany

Tel.: +49-221-57993-1005
Fax: +49-221-57993-45

The European Code of Conduct

The European Code of Conduct serves as a collective minimum standard for the cooperation of companies supplying Internet trustmarks.
Each supplier uses its own list of criteria that surpasses the minimum requirements of the collective Code of Conduct and also meets specific national features.

Article 1 Information concerning the company

Every company engaged in on-line commerce of goods and services, whether as a main or ancillary activity, must furnish the following information which has to be easily, directly and permanently accessible to potential customers visiting its website :

  • name of the company (1)
  • registered office
  • information on how and where the company can be contacted immediately, and for directly and effectively communicating with it, including its e-mail address, opening hours and telephone number(s)
  • name of the register and of the company's registration number, should the company be registered in a commercial or any other public register
  • VAT identification number as defined in Article (22)1 of Directive 77/388/EEC as amended by Directive 98/80EC should the activities of the company be subject to Value Added Tax, or to any other identification number considered equivalent. In case of modification, the company must update the information provided.
  • The elements of identification and the contact details of the competent supervisory authority, if the activity performed is subject to concession, licence or authorisation.

Article 2 Privacy

a) Information concerning the protection of personal data

1) Collection, processing and use of data by the company

Personal data which is subject to any form of automated processing shall be

  • obtained fairly and within the limitations set by European and national legal and ethical provisions
  • stored for specified legitimate purposes within the scope of the company's business activities and not be used in any way incompatible with those purposes
  • processed appropriately, relevantly and with respect of the required confidentiality and specified wishes of consumers concerning the use of their personal data
  • temporary stored and kept up to date and no longer than required within the company's commercial activities and according to administrative obligations.

2) Right of information, access and rectification

The company must be able to provide to those whose personal data has been collected, any information requested concerning the processing of such data and the means to access and rectify them.

3) Right to refuse

The customer shall have the opportunity to object to the communication to third parties of data concerning him.

The company shall respect the customer's wish not to receive commercial mail, telephone calls, e-mail and the like, irrespective whether such a wish was directly expressed to the company or through a national Preference Service or equivalent body in the country of customer.

b) confidentiality of the communications

The company ensures that the service provider which gains access or stores information on a client's terminal equipment has given prior clear information about the purpose of any such activities to the client and has also given him the opportunity to refuse such activities.

The company ensures that the service provider erases clients' traffic data when they are no longer needed for the transmission of a communication. The service provider may only store traffic data beyond this point only if it is necessary for billing purposes.

Article 3 Pre-contractual information concerning the product(s) on sale

a) General Conditions

Prior to conclusion of contract, the company shall make available to potential customers visiting the website the following information concerning the product(s) and/or ancillary service(s) on sale, whose modifications, if any, will be updated by the company itself:

  • main qualitative (denomination, character, etc.) and quantitative (dimensions, weight, quantity, images if available, etc.) features including - if applicable - information on potential hazards related with the product
  • available guarantees and after-sales service (see Article 9)
  • price, including all taxes, levies and customs duties if any
  • period for which the offer or the price is valid and - if applicable - the geographical coverage of the offer
  • exact amount of delivery costs, if applicable
  • legislation applicable to the contract
  • all available languages to conclude a contract- the access mode to the present code of conduct
  • ways and means for dealing with potential litigation and, in particular, the existence of out-of-court procedures accessible to the customer in case of unsuccessful personal agreement, if available (see Article 11)
  • conditions of payment, as follows :
    • for on-line payments which must place under secured conditions, clearly indicate which system(s) is/are used - in case of sale on credit, the general conditions of the latter, its potential limitations and ancillary costs
    • conditions, means of delivery and indication of the agreed time-span (see Article 5)
  • conditions of cancellation and/or renewal of contract, when the duration of contract exceeds one year or is indefinite;
  • existence of a right of withdrawal in the framework of consumer contracts, as well as description of the conditions and ways and means to access such a right (see Article 7)
  • minimum duration of the contract in case of contracts for the supply of goods or services, both of continued or periodical execution.

b) Specific conditions

  • Restrictions concerning the importation/exportation/use of products put on sale: the company shall clearly inform visitors of the website of any legal restrictions existing in the country where the company is established, concerning the utilisation and/or exportation of products put on sale. However, it is up to the customer to obtain from his own authorities information on any legal restrictions concerning the utilisation and/or importation of the product the customer intends to order.
  • Substitute products : If the company is unable to furnish the product(s) ordered and wishes to offer a substitute product to the customer, such a possibility shall be clearly mentioned at the pre-contractual stage of the transaction. To exercise this right, the company is subject to the conditions stipulated in Article 6.
  • Should the company activity be subject to authorisation, or the object of the supply be given on the basis of a licence contract for use, the company shall indicate the contract details.

Article 4 Procedure for the conclusion of on-line contracts

a) Preliminary information

At all times during the on-line transaction, the customer must be able to access the information laid down in Article 3.

Furthermore, the customer must be able to access clear and detailed information concerning :

  • availability of product, except in the case of foodstuffs, beverages or other household convenience goods. If availability requires confirmation by the company, a specific message shall be addressed to the customer without delay, by any available means of communication
  • the possibility for the customer to obtain a substitute product, as laid down in Article 6
  • ways and means for the customer to reach the company's Customer Service which is in charge of dealing with claims

b) Ordering process

Before starting the ordering process, it is necessary to provide the customer with the information related to the different technical phases to be followed to conclude the contract.

At all times during the transaction and prior to definitive confirmation of contract, the customer must be able to correct potential mistakes. To this end, the company undertakes to provide the customer with a validation system which enables him to check and confirm his agreement on the precise content of the order before the final confirmation.

The agreement on contents of the order shall include a summary of the order, of the price to be paid and - if applicable (see art. 4 comma a) - state the unavailability of one or several products. The customer must be able to reproduce and/or save this agreement.

The customer has, moreover, to be informed on how the contract will be placed on file and on the access mode.

c) Ordering

After confirmation of the order as stipulated under b) above, the company shall, without delay and by electronic means, acknowledge receipt of the order. The order shall be deemed to be placed when it can be assumed that the customer has been able to have access by electronic means to the said acknowledgement of receipt as defined below.

The acknowledgement of receipt shall contain a recapitulation of the order (essential features of the good or service prices and ways and means of performing the order - delivery costs and applicable charges) and - if applicable - state the unavailability of one or several products. Furthermore, it shall repeat the information previously made available to the customer concerning

  • conditions and ways and means of exerting the right to withdraw,
  • ways and means for reaching the company's Customer Service
  • conditions of cancellation of contract by the customer, when duration of contract exceeds one year or is indefinite.

At the latest at the moment of delivery, the customer must be able to receive a hard copy of the information contained in the electronic acknowledgement of receipt and/or to reproduce and/or to save such information on any durable medium accessible to him.

Article 5 Performance of contract

The company agrees to perform the order within the agreed time-span or, for lack of, within a time-span not over 30 days, starting from the day the customer transmitted the order to the company.

Should the company realise:

  • that the originally fixed time-span to carry out the order cannot be complied with or
  • that one or several products (other than foodstuffs, beverages or other household convenience goods) have become unavailable during handling of the order,it shall clearly propose, before the originally fixed time-span has lapsed, a new date for delivery, including a proposal for the customer to withdraw and/or to obtain reimbursement.

Should it become partly or totally impossible for the company to perform because of unavailability of one or several products ordered, the customer shall be informed of such unavailability and be reimbursed of all sums he has already paid, as soon as possible and, in any event, at the latest within 30 days of the date on which he was to be due to have received the product.

The company shall deliver the product(s) in compliance with the order. To be considered compliant with the order, the product(s) must:

  • correspond to the description shown on the company's website
  • be suited for the use to which it is normally and commonly intended according to its nature, or for which the customer has informed the company that he intends to use it
  • present the characteristics normally featured by a product of the same type and which the customer may reasonably expect considering the nature of the product and the information concerning it which was made public by the company, notably through advertising and labelling. If the product is not in compliance with the order, the customer may resort to the rights which he is granted in the guarantee (see Article 9).

Furthermore, companies adhering to the present Code of Conduct will not deliver any unsolicited product to the customer for which payment is requested.

Article 6 Substitute products

Should a company, in compliance with legislation of the country where it is established and taking into account the nature of the product, intend to offer to the customer a product in exchange of the ordered product which is unavailable, the customer shall be informed of this intention prior to conclusion of contract, as stipulated in article 3 b). The company shall deliver a substitute product which in terms of value for money is equivalent to the one ordered and if the customer is not satisfied with the substitute product, the company shall bear all charges associated with the return of the item (see Article 8).

Article 7 Right of withdrawal

The customer has the right to withdraw from a consumer contract without any indication of reasons and without the imposition of a penalty within at least seven working days , counted from the date the product is delivered to the customer. In case of service supply, the withdrawal period starts from the conclusion of the contract.

Should the company have failed to supply the information stipulated in article 3 a), last indent and article 4 c), para 2, the right of withdrawal may be exercised by the customer during at least three months from the date the product is delivered or, in case of service supply, from the conclusion of the contract. Should the company have supplied the lacking information during those three months, the minimum time-span of seven working days comes into force, counted from the date the information was delivered to the customer.

The company cannot unilaterally curtail the right of withdrawal, except as stipulated in article 6, para 3 of Directive 97/7. As a consequence and unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the consumer may not exercise the right of withdrawal provided for in the preceding paragraph, notably in respect of contracts:

  • for the provision of goods made to the consumer's specifications or clearly personalised or which, by reason of their nature, cannot be returned or are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly. Among others, fresh and/or perishable goods as well as deep-frozen products fall into this category.
  • for the supply of audio or video recordings or computer software which were unsealed by the consumer,
  • for the supply of newspapers, periodicals and magazines,
  • - for gaming and lottery services;
  • for the supply of goods or services, whose price is linked to the financial market rate fluctuations, which the company cannot control.

Article 8 "Money-back guarantee"

Should the customer make use of the right of withdrawal, the companies adhering to the present Code of Conduct shall under all circumstances reimburse the customer of all payments made, free of charge. The only charges paid by the customer may be those directly connected with the return of the goods. However, any charges connected with the return of substitute products, which have been delivered according to article 6, are borne by the company.

The companies adhering to the present Code of Conduct shall proceed to the reimbursement as soon as possible and, in any event, within 30 days counted from the date the returned product was received by the company.

Article 9 Guarantees / After-Sales Service

Wherever in the present Code reference is made to this Article, the respective information to be provided by the company to the customer shall, in clear, simple and understandable terms mention:

  • the customer's statutory rights as stipulated in the legislation of the country where the company is established
  • the main elements for resorting to the guarantee: duration, geographical coverage and other relevant information on exercising the guarantee
  • the contact details for the after-sales service provider (address, telephone and fax number, e-mail address or any other option).

Article 10 Unsolicited Commercial communication

The companies adhering to the present Code shall not send commercial communications by fax or e-mail or other electronic messaging systems, unless the prior consent of the addressee has been obtained.

When contact details of a customer have been obtained in the context of a sale, the company may use them for a subsequent direct marketing under condition that:

  • -it has been made clear to the customer that his data may be used for direct marketing
  • -he is offered the right to object, and-each subsequent direct marketing message sent to the customer shall offer him the possibility to stop further messages.

Article 11 Handling of complaints and out-of-court settlement of litigation

The company shall provide the customer with detailed information on the handling of complaints and on out-of-court settlement of litigation, if available, in the language that the customer has chosen for consulting the website and for ordering.

a) Handling of complaints

In case of complaint, the customer must first apply to the Customer Service made available to him by the company. The company shall handle the complaint within 10 calendar days, counted from the day it was received by the company.

Should the company be unable to find a solution during this period, it shall inform the customer accordingly and indicate the time-span necessary for dealing definitively with the complaint. This time-span shall not exceed 30 days.

b) EURO-LABEL complaint form

To facilitate the relationship between the customer and the company and/or the customer and the body responsible for out-of-court settlement of litigation, the company shall provide access to the Euro-Label complaint form.

c) If the complaint handling with the customer service of the company fails, the consumer may submit a complaint to the national member who certified the shop. The time span to handle this complaint will not exceed ten calendar days from the day the certification body received the complaint.

d) Out-of-court settlement of litigation

Should the customer not be satisfied with the reply or the arrangement proposed by the company or by the certification body, the customer is free to bring the complaint before the body indicated by the certification body, which is in charge of settling litigation out of court.

e) Cross-border litigation

Should the customer resort to a settlement on the basis of personal agreement and/or out-of-court action, this does not deprive him of the right to access the competent legal authorities according to the international Conventions in force.

Article 12 Logo

The National Organisation adhering to the present Code of Conduct shall

  • control that the participating national companies and/or affiliated bodies comply with the rules in the present Code of Conduct
  • be able to stipulate at the level of the national participating companies and/or affiliated bodies, in the interest of supplementary protection of their customers, stricter rules than those laid down in the present Code of Conduct
  • be the sole bodies authorised to utilise the Logo (XX) and the complaint form (YY) and to allow the utilisation of these by the participating national companies and/or affiliated bodies.

Article 13 Children protection and human dignity respect

The Company adhering to the present Code shall:

  • refrain from collecting any personal data of children - avoid to instigate their participation in, or disseminate information in view of gambling activities;
  • refuse to knowingly accepting orders for goods or services from children not authorized by adults;
  • avoid to introduce links to other web sites considered misleading, fraudulent, illegal, or with content for adults;
  • respect the bona fide and loyalty principles for the commercial transactions, in particular with respect to the weaker categories of consumers;
  • refrain to use the intellectual property of third parties in a misleading way;
  • guarantee that the advertising on the web site is clearly identifiable and not deceptive.