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E-commerce posts a constant annual increase. And so that the user buys safely, the Consumer Code watches and evolves... Decryption!

Do-it-yourself: how to buy on the internet

According to Unibal (National Union of DIY, Gardening and Home Improvement Industries), the DIY market generated sales of 24.50 billion euros in 2012, a growth of 1.9 % compared to 2011, by integrating the garden section of DIY superstores (GSB).
This figure places it as the leading household equipment market (around € 800 / year), far ahead of furniture, sports, TV-hifi, home appliances, micro-computing...

Intention purchases: benefits to GSB

The sector is largely driven by the GSB, which represents 76% of the market.
And among the four major groups of distributors, two share 70% of the market: Adeo with its brands Leroy Merlin, Bricoman and Weldom and Kingfisher who owns Castorama and Brico Dépôt. But this growth, driven by the opening of new outlets in 2012 (+ 4%), does not benefit everyone.
If the big winner is the GSB, which overall stands at + 2%, despite a contrasting result between DIY (+ 2.6%) and the garden (-1.9%), the materials business only shows 1.7%. monitoring supermarkets (GSA) with 1.5% growth.
The weather, the decline in purchasing power and the concern of households are the main factors impacting the sector.
However, the technical innovations allowing the simplicity of implementation, the bringing to the standards, the adaptation of the equipments to the aging of the population make that the spirit of the DIY continues.

E-commerce: new traders

If DIY has a bright future, it is also thanks to the multiplication of distribution channels that allow households greater access to products and solutions.
Since 2011, we have been consuming differently and the new technologies are not unrelated to this phenomenon (see System D n° 812, September 2013, p 18). Traditional outlets and new distributors are constantly investing in the Internet.
A study by the Fevad (Federation e-commerce and distance selling) reveals that, in all sectors, the e-commerce market weighed 45 billion euros in 2012. The world of the house represents 27% of e-commerce and home delivery mode is the most sought after with 82%.

DIY on the internet: having the right reflexes

As for the payment of purchases, among the various payment methods (online wallet, gift voucher, virtual credit card, payment by check, direct debit, payment in several installments), it is the bank card which is placed in first position with 80% of transactions. But before entering the data of his card, it is better to make sure that the page dedicated to the payment is well secured.
Just check the presence of a small padlock (yellow). It must be visible in the browser window used (to the right of the address bar on Explorer, bottom right for Mozilla, etc.) and the URL of the page must start with "https", the letter "S" indicating that the site is secure. But the best way to protect yourself from acts of piracy on the Internet is to never write down your password in a digital file. Just as it is not essential to confirm its memorization when a site offers (especially if you consult online sales sites from a public computer). It is better to write down your logins and passwords in a safe place.
At the time of validating his order, no site must ask the secret code of the credit card (the one that allows you to withdraw money or pay for purchases from merchants). The numbers to enter are those on the front and back of the card. In case of concern, banks provide a phone number upon delivery of bank cards to block them.

3DSecure: more security

Since 2008, e-commerce has adopted the 3DSecure payment system.
This system was developed to avoid fraud (the only number of a stolen card allowed a third party to make purchases on the Internet). The operating mode is simple. If the number of the card, its expiry date and the cryptogram (series of figures on the back of the card) must always be entered, with this new secure payment system, the surfer switches to the site of his bank who asks questions of which he alone is supposed to know the answers.
These are not stored on the website of the e-merchant but on that of his bank. Once the latter has verified that he is the owner of the credit card, it returns on the page of the merchant site to finalize his purchase.
Banks now offer new cards compatible with this system. But it must be ensured that they have a solid means of control (password, date of birth, code...).
Because legally, at the time of a traditional purchase (without 3DSecure), the bank of the surfer is responsible in case of litigation. With the payment 3DSecure, the bank is released from any obligation of refund, since it has confirmed the identity of the cardholder.
On the other hand, if the authentication fails and the merchant's bank claims the amount due, the customer's bank has no obligation to honor the payment. And if the payment is made, the user is entitled to challenge the debit.

Consumption on the web: what does the law say?

Even if credit card fraud is not to be minimized, it is not the tip of the iceberg. Most often, the dispute concerns delivery times.
To preserve purchasing power, the Consumer Code has introduced new measures to provide consumers with greater scope of action in the event of litigation. This is the so-called Hamon law (2014-344 of March 17, 2014 on consumption) which covers many areas such as insurance, banking, abuse of weakness, energy... and the e-commerce.
It creates new defense tools for the consumer: group action, termination of auto and home insurance contract at any time, decrease in the cost of insurance borrower, cheaper glasses (whose sale opens to the e-commerce), better access to certain health products, alignment of rates on the reality of services rendered, access to sustainable and responsible consumption, informed purchasing and consumption, recourse to abusive soliciting and increased protection of Internet purchases.
The INC (National Institute of Consumers) has also drawn up a table summarizing the main measures, their new codifications and their entry into force. Those concerning e-commerce apply to contracts concluded since June 14, 2014.

DIY to conquer the web

GSB, traders, specialized distribution professionals, all develop their distribution network through the Internet.
These websites are real online stores that allow to equip themselves with materials and tools. If all the actors of the sector already occupy the scene (Leroymerlin.fr, castorama.fr, bricodepot.fr, point.p.fr, bricoman.fr, lapeyre.fr...), the list of these sites dedicated to the DIY widens and records each year new actors (bricoprive.com, bannedpublic.com, mesmateriaux.com, monechelle.fr, Batiwiz.com, maxoutils.fr, completement-marteau.com, bricozor.com, DIY-andco.com, hardeman- distribution.com...).

website of the DGCCRF

The Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) analyzes business practices of professionals to protect consumers and help them resolve their disputes. It has fact sheets answering questions of competition, consumption and security, available on the site: dgccrf.bercy.gouv.fr

The opinion of the specialist
Online payment is quite secure. But that does not excuse checking his accounts because we have, in all, thirteen months to go back. In addition, in the contract between the bank and the e-merchant, it is the latter who is responsible. Which brings more guarantees to the user. "
Maître Gérard Haas, lawyer, specialist in Internet law (from "Tout tout changer", France 3, 19 May 2014).

site of the Fevad

The Fevad federates the actors of the e-commerce and the distance selling. It brings together more than 370 companies representing around 600 Internet sites, in the field of retail sales, sales to professionals and sales between Internet users.
On its website fevad.com, a "Conso" area helps the consumer throughout his online shopping journey.

The Consumer Code is enriched with new articles *

Article L. 121-21
WITHDRAWAL PERIOD
This period is extended from 7 to 14 days. The consumer thus benefits from an extended reflexion period for any online purchase. He may retract and return his purchase if he receives it during his reflection period or if he finds a manufacturing defect.
Article L. 138-1
DELIVERY WITHIN 30 DAYS

The law now requires the professional to deliver a product purchased on the Internet within 30 days at the latest, from the date of validation of the order by the customer. In addition, the delivery date must be indicated precisely on the contract of sale regardless of the value of the property. If the deadline is not respected, the consumer must give notice, by registered letter, the professional and request the cancellation of his contract (always in writing) if he does not react after the formal notice. An exception, however, allows the consumer to cancel the sales contract when the delivery date is a prerequisite. The professional then has 14 days to refund the customer. This amount is increased by 10% in case of delay (up to 30 days), 20% up to 60 days and 50% beyond.
Article L.114-1
PREFERRED CASES

Previously, before validating an order, the user had to uncheck boxes. The latter concerned paid options that weighed down the bill. The new law prohibits the professional from pre-charging additional paid options. For any sale of product or service, the seller will be required to obtain the customer's agreement for payments in addition to the original price. From now on, if an option is billed without the client's knowledge, he is entitled to claim the refund.
Article L.111-1
CONSUMER INFORMATION

The professional is obliged to provide more information to the consumer before buying on the Internet. It must clearly display all the characteristics of the product, the payment terms and any delivery restrictions.
* The Hamon law has introduced new articles aimed at protecting cyber users.

monechelle.fr website

In 2013, the share of e-commerce in the DIY and gardening sector is 1.2% (source: monechelle.fr).

lesarnaques.com website

Among the numerous federations and institutions that help victims of unscrupulous sites, Lesarnaques.com, a non-profit organization (law 1901) created by a group of volunteers, supports Internet users to assert their rights.

The site topdunet.fr

E-commerce requires a minimum of control. First and foremost, it is better to check the business name of the e-merchant, the terms of payment and delivery. The site topdunet.fr provides Internet users with an exhaustive list of essential information that the seller must display on its website to be in compliance with the Consumer Code.

INC: a facility that watches over grain

conso.net website

The National Institute of Consumption (INC) is a public body under the supervision of the Ministry in charge of consumption. Its role is to support national consumer organizations and regional technical centers of consumption (CTRC) through technical support.
The INC carries out, among other things, studies, quests and tests and also provides technical support to the Committee on Consumer Safety (CSC), the Unfair Contract Terms Commission (CCA) and the Mediation Committee of the consumption (CMC). The institute has a consumer portal (conso.net) on which it puts online new articles adopted in the code of consumption.

DIY and e-commerce: what's new?: delivery

DISPUTES: WHAT PROCEDURE TO FOLLOW?

website lescomparateurs.com

Deficient service; delivered product defective or damaged; failure to meet delivery deadlines, or even complete absence of delivery; product that does not conform to the online description; refusal of assumption of responsibility of products under guarantee or right of retraction ignored...
What recourse?
The first thing to do is to check if the claim is admissible by rereading the contract and in particular its conditions of sale. The opinion of a consumer association can be valuable in case of doubt. At first, the easiest way is to negotiate with the seller to find a compromise. A phone call to expose the problem without aggression is a good way to start the discussion. But if the situation is at an impasse, it is better to protect yourself with a registered mail that will have more weight in front of a court. And if in spite of this the dispute is not resolved, a conciliator (or mediator) can intervene. This solution offers the advantage of not having to commit to expensive procedural fees and freezes the limitation period. The mediators' contact details are located in the town hall or the district court.
But it is also possible to get closer to the mediator of the net (mediator.net) or the association (e-litige.com) which helps the consumer to solve his problem through mediation. As for the DGCCRF (Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control), it offers free legal consultations and consumer associations (UFC choose, 60 million consumers...) can take charge of the cases to represent the plaintiff before the courts.
Last resort, the lawsuit that is triggered by the filing of a complaint. Depending on the nature of the dispute the jurisdiction differs. The simplified referral concerns small claims (less than € 4,000) and does not require the presence of a lawyer. In this case it is necessary to address the registry of the district court. The cases of scams, breach of trust, misleading advertising... are dealt with by the criminal courts because they are considered as offenses. Lescomparateurs.com/litige-achat.html publishes the list of useful addresses to help the consumer.

service.e-cartebleue.com

The banks have developed the virtual blue card (e-credit card) for nomadic use. This payment method is accessible via a unique URL link (// service.e-cartebleue.com) thanks to an identifier and a password from any computer. Entering the amount generates a new one-time card: all you have to do is enter the information on this ephemeral card to make your purchase a reality.


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