France: publication of the decree implementing the Hamon Act which specifies “pre-contractual” and “contractual” information to be provided

The French Hamon Act of March 17, 2014 on consumer law aims at increasing consumer protection by compelling businesses to provide information on every purchase through a “sustainable medium”. In one of our previous articles, we outlined that that law also aims at extending the withdrawal period from 7 to 14 days and at establishing a number of obligations in relation to the pre-contractual information provided on an e-commerce website.

A decree dated 17 September 2014 on pre-contractual and contractual information to consumers and to the right of withdrawal, implementing the Hamon Law, details the nature of the pre-contractual information that businesses shall provide before the parties enter into the agreement. The purpose of these pre-contractual and contractual information is to protect consumers on the Internet. The trader’s name and contact details, methods of payment, delivery, performance and claim settlement, legal and commercial guarantees and finally the features and interoperability of digital content should be stated. With respect to the withdrawal form, the decree requires its compulsory integration in the agreement including explanations on how to exercise the withdrawal right.

The decree was enforceable immediately and thus came into force September 20, 2014. The Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (French Competition, Consumer and Fraud Control Authority) may start implementing controls immediately to ensure compliance with the new rules.

In order to comply, businesses are strongly advised to update their contractual information to include the withdrawal form and the procedures to exercise the withdrawal right amongst others.