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Legal requirements for selling on eBay Germany

By Chris Dawson November 7, 2013 - 9:48 am

GermanyMost sellers are pretty familiar with the legal requirements for selling in the UK which are mainly covered by the Distance selling regulations and the Sales of Goods Act. Selling to Germany however is a little different, look at any Germany listing and you’ll see a huge list of terms and conditions and legal information that you’re obliged to provide.

If you want to list directly on eBay Germany then you’ll need to be familiar with the huge amount of information you’re obliged to provide. eBay India have just put up a release detailing exactly what you need to do and it’ll apply to UK sellers just as much as to Indian sellers.

eBay warn “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”.

German sellers aren’t reticent about taking legal action against each other. The theory goes that if you don’t follow the law to the letter then you may be saving money by not offering the requisite service. Therefore it’s unfair competition, you’re costing you competitor money as they are providing the service and they’ll sue you for it!

You can read the full on the eBay India site and if you’re going to list directly on eBay Germany (as opposed to passive selling “ship to”) we’d recommend you get your Ts and Cs compliant with German requirements.

  • Carl Roll
    3 years ago

    A couple of legal things that have stood out to me when selling directly on German platforms:

    You need to include an “impressum” (to which there is no English translation!), basically it is just some details about your business & contact details.

    It is a legal requirement to provide free returns on orders over €40.00

    • L
      3 years ago

      By free returns, do you mean the seller has to pay for the return instead of the buyer in all instances?

    • 3 years ago

      Good question. I understand that we have to repay return shipping costs for items with a retail value exceeding 40 Euros but do we have to refund the outbound shipping too

    • Carl Roll
      3 years ago

      Hi Andy,

      We always refunded initial postage so I was not sure the answer to this one!

      I just checked with our account manager at Webinterpret.com for you, and the answer is that it is a legal requirement to refund initial postage on orders over €40.00

    • Carl
      3 years ago

      In all instances where the sale is over €40.00 (I Believe this also includes shipping costs). So they can just change their mind and get a full refund!

  • fusion
    3 years ago

    Thanks for the info, was about to start in the new year with listing. I did remember an article a while back about a seller not having phone details listed and that being a problem, so was thinking I need to double check before I list.

  • Joe
    3 years ago

    This information can also be found on the DE legal hub:

    http://pages.ebay.de/help/sell/business/international-business-sellers.html

  • 3 years ago

    Seems that eBay are spreading the message around the world – it’s been posted on the eBay Australia announcement board now.

    I do wonder if there’s been an increased incidence of German sellers reporting cross border trade merchants listing on eBay.de?

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    Why does not the UK have the same laws? Is not the EEC there to level the playing field for sellers based within the EEC?

    “German sellers aren’t reticent about taking legal action against each other. The theory goes that if you don’t follow the law to the letter then you may be saving money by not offering the requisite service. Therefore it’s unfair competition, you’re costing you competitor money as they are providing the service and they’ll sue you for it!”

    How do the relative proportions of sellers from outside the EEC compare on the German and UK sites? Bet they are far higher on the UK site.

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    One or two Tamebay visitors need to read this:-

    “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. ”

    Why are so many Chinese sellers (and sellers of NEW Chinese goods) on ebay UK not registered as a business? How can you sell manufactured goods from China and not be a business?

    This would not happen on German ebay would it!

    • 3 years ago

      To be fair if you’re registered on eBay China (or eBay.com) they don’t have an option to register as a business seller or a private seller…

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    If you are Chinese or American selling on ebay China or USA that is a matter for ebay China or the USA.

    If you are Chinese or American business selling on ebay UK then why is business registration not a requirement?

    Surely the same rules should apply to all sellers of goods on ebay UK, not just those sellers based in the UK.

    Is business registration required by Chinese or American sellers for German ebay?

    Are there not VAT and tax considerations?

    • 3 years ago

      It’s all to do with the eBay site you register your account with – there just aren’t options to register as a business on all sites around the world.

      That doesn’t mean HMRC and other tax authorities don’t expect you to pay tax that’s due… it just means there’s not a facility on eBay for them to declare themselves a business

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