Decision of the Ministry of Economy and Development 31619 of March 22nd, 2017 (Government Gazette B’ 969/22-03-2017) on the subject: “Code of Consumer Ethics for Electronic Commerce”
Article 1 Purpose and Scope
- The code sets the general principles and defines the minimum rules of professional ethics and moral behavior that which must be observed by businesses towards the consumer.
- It applies to transactions in the context of contracts for the sale of goods or the provision of services concluded between consumers and suppliers for a fee entirely online, that is, by electronic means at a distance without the simultaneous physical presence of the two parties being necessary (B2C transactions).
- The code pertains to self-regulation rules of businesses which are active in electronic commerce aimed at consumers, and applies without prejudice to the EU and Greek legislation on electronic commerce and consumer protection which in no way replaces.
Article 2 Definitions
- For the application of the Code, the following terms have the meaning assigned to them as below:
a) “Business, active in the field of “electronic business””, (hereinafter “business”), means the legal or natural persons based in Greece that provide products and/or services to consumers in Greece and/or abroad, operating legally directly and/or and as intermediaries providing services for direct or indirect remuneration by electronic means at a distance, and following the consumer’s personal choice. 6) “Remote electronic means” means services and products provided by businesses and accepted by consumers through electronic processing equipment that is provided, transmitted and received entirely through the Internet and/or mobile networks/applications text). c) For the rest of the terms, the definitions found in Law 2251/1994 apply, as applicable, in p.d. 131/2003 and in the Code of Consumer Ethics of article 7 of Law 3297/2004, as applicable.
2. In case of doubt, the definitions of the current legislation prevail.
Article 3 General principles and obligations of online stores
A. General principles
The Code is governed by the principles of consumer protection, transparency, impartiality, technological neutrality, professional ethics, ethical behavior and respect for privacy, protection of personal data and the protection of vulnerable population groups as specifically referred to in articles 4 and 5 hereof.
B. Minimum consumer information
1. The company ensures the pre-contractual information of the consumer so that it is possible to fully, accurately and clearly inform them about the following:
2. Full company name, registered office, postal address, VAT number, contact numbers/e-mail address.
3. Registration number in GEMI.
iii. Main characteristics of the products it sells, and the quality of the services provided (e.g. the total price including VAT or other taxes, the shipping costs, or the possible costs of returning a product, any additional charges, the terms and methods of payment, guarantees, size – dimensions of the product), as well as for the means of payment.
1. Availability of services and products and the deadline, within which the supplier undertakes to deliver the goods or provide the services.
n. Characteristics of charges, possible discount packages or special offers.
1. Conditions for withdrawing from the contract as well as the termination or cancellation of the contract, as specifically stated in article 6 hereof.
vii. The possibility of out-of-court resolution of their disputes and information about the recognized bodies of alternative resolution of consumer disputes, which the suppliers are committed or obliged to use for the resolution of disputes. In the absence of such a commitment or obligation, the suppliers must specify whether they will make use of the relevant bodies.
viii. The option for electronic alternative dispute resolution, as specifically mentioned in article 8 hereof.
1. The terms of service after the sale, any commercial guarantees (content, duration and extent of territorial validity), and the seller’s responsibility for actual defects and lack of agreed properties, in accordance with articles 534 et seq. of the Civil Code.
2. The eventual need for frequent maintenance of the products or the existence of particularly high-cost replacement parts in relation to the current price of these products.
3. The purpose of the processing, the recipients or categories of recipients of the data and the existence of the right of access and objection, as specifically mentioned in article 5B/par. 5 hereof.
xii. The codes of conduct or any credibility marks that bind them. xiii. The above information to the consumer must be comprehensible, legal, true, up-to-date, easily accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities, and verifiable. It must be made in the Greek language and optionally in another language.
2. The terms of the contract for the provision of services or the sale of products must be publishe on the company’s website, in a place that the consumer can easily access.
3. In cases of submission of an order request by the consumer, the company is obliged to immediately deliver/send proof of receipt of the order request which clearly states the date that the order was received and confirmation of the order.
4. With the business’ responsibility, the time during which the contract is considered to have been concluded, as defined in the current legislation, becomes clear to the consumer. The basic contractual terms should be available to consumers in advance and in such a way that the order cannot be registered if the user is not aware of them beforehand. After the conclusion of the contract, the company must refrain from any action that implies a modification of its terms, in particular to modify the price or inform about the unavailability of the ordered product or ordered service.
5. The consumer has sufficient information about the progress of his order.
6. The company, in the event that it finds that the consumer did not have correct information, or the conclusion of the contract was not made with his express consent, makes every effort to resolve the issue in a reasonable timeframe.
7. The staff of businesses in the e-commerce sector who come in contact with consumers, in order to provide services or sell products, must be fully informed about the above and answer the reasonable questions of consumers clearly and accurately.
C. Advertising – Promotion
1. Advertising and promotion must be in compliance with the current legislation.
2. In any case, the following should apply:
3. Advertising messages and all information provided by businesses must be characterized (as appropriate and as far as possible by virtue of the medium used) by clarity regarding the identity of the business, the properties and the final price of the advertised product, or if this is not possible, the way it is calculated, in simple and comprehensible language for the consumer, so that the latter is able to evaluate the information provided and safely make the right decision regarding the purchase of products or services.
4. Advertisements or other offers should refrain from misleading or offensive practices before, during and after a commercial transaction related to a specific product or service, and which directly or inductively is likely to mislead the consumer about the product or service which is displayed.
iii. The staff of the company that comes into direct contact with the consumer does not mislead or seek to mislead in any way, via their actions or omissions, by giving false impressions about the service or product provided.
1. The company does not provide incomplete or inaccurate information regarding the ability of providing the service or selling the product to the consumer.
n. Any advertising and promotional activity directed specifically at minors may not incite them, directly or indirectly, to acts of violence, to the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, toxic substances or to any form of dangerous behavior for their safety and health.
1. Businesses comply with the age restrictions set by current legislation regarding the promotion and selling of specific product categories.
vii. Any advertising and promotion aimed at people with disabilities, should ensure its accessibility to them.
Article 4 Protection of minors and other vulnerable groups of the population
1. The company’s staff does not take advantage of the weakness of consumers who belong to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, minors, people who do not understand the Greek language well, or people with disabilities. Businesses make meticulous, accurate and objective descriptions of products and services specifically addressed to such persons in a way that is comprehensible, understandable and fully accessible to them, so as not to mislead them as to the true size, value, nature, purpose, durability, performance and price of the advertised product or service.
2. Especially for underage consumers, businesses ensure – to the extent possible – the formation of the appropriate terms of access to their websites as defined for each case by the applicable laws.
Article 5 Security of transactions and protection of personal data
A. Transaction security
1. Businesses take care of the transactions’ security by using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
3. Businesses use the appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the privacy of the data they collect and process to the extent legally prescribed and according to the nature of the products and services they provide.
B. Protection of personal data
2. It is not permitted to collect, store or process the data that the law defines as sensitive, i.e. the data concerning the racial or national origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, membership in an association, union and trade union, health, social welfare as well as that related to criminal prosecutions or convictions unless the terms and conditions set by the law and the Personal Data Protection Authority are met.
3. The collection, processing, storage and use of other personal data is done only when this is permitted by the applicable legal framework and always in accordance with the conditions stipulated therein.
4. Specifically regarding the use of “cookies of all kinds”, their installation should be carried out after appropriately informing the consumer and on the basis of his consent, in accordance with the law and the relevant instructions of the Personal Data Protection Authority.
5. In case of non-consent or acceptance of “cookies”, the companies allow, as long as it is technologically possible, the continuation of the use of the website by the consumer, without sending cookies.
6. Businesses ensure that the personal data collected are not disclosed or transmitted to third parties, without prior information or consent of the person concerned, and/or in the cases provided for by law, always in accordance with the provisions of data of a personal nature protection legislation.
7. Businesses respect the wish of consumers to not be included in records whose purpose is to make unsolicited commercial communications with human intervention (calling) for the promotion and supply of products or services, as long as they have declared this to the provider available to the public.
8. Businesses provide consumers with the opportunity to choose whether they wish to receive advertising messages and any kind of newsletters and, in case of acceptance, to have the option of freely withdrawing their consent and businesses to have the obligation not to re-promote new advertising messages and any type of newsletters from now on (unless consent is given again or the statutory provisions are met again).
9. The consumer has the right to have direct access to information on matters of his personal data, to object to the use of these in future promotional actions, to request and confirm their partial or total deletion from the company’s records, to request the correction or addition to them, to be informed of the time and manner of the initial acquisition of his personal data by the company as well as to be informed of the applied methods of personal data protection.
Article 6 Right of withdrawal for consumers
1. The consumer has an indisputable right of unjustified and irrevocable withdrawal in accordance with the provisions of the current legislation.
2. Before the consumer is contractually bound, the supplier must inform him, in a distinct, clear and understandable way, in his language, of his right to exercise an unjustified withdrawal within the legally prescribed period of fourteen (14) days, which starts from the point of time determined each time by law, as well as for the terms, conditions, exceptions and the procedure for exercising the right of withdrawal, but also of the consequences of the exercise, taking into account the specificity of each product/service and also providing a sample withdrawal form.
Article 7 Consumer Service
1. The business ensures that it has the appropriate mechanisms (via telephone and/or e-mail) and sufficient staff to deal with consumer service, making reasonable efforts to inform them about their requests within the legal time limits per case.
2. When the communication is made through a call center, the company ensures that the consumer is not left on hold excessively and that, in any case, the charge for the call does not exceed the charges applicable for civil calls.
3. When communication is made through an online contact form or business e-mail address, care is taken to send a response within a reasonable time period after receiving the relevant customer request.
Article 8 Electronic Alternative resolution of consumer disputes
1. Businesses inform consumers of the possibility of alternative resolution of consumer disputes that have arisen from contracts for the electronic sale of products or the provision of services by using the ADR entities registered in the Registry, in accordance with joint ministerial decision 70330/2015.
2. Businesses, whether committed to use the ADR or not, provide an easily accessible, through their websites, electronic link to the pan-EU platform for electronic resolution of consumer disputes (ADR platform), in application of the provisions of Regulation (EU) 524/ 2013) through which consumers submit their complaint, then forwarding it to the relevant AED body.