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Ecommerce law: among others Privacy and data protection in France

Read below about ecommerce law topics: consumer protection, digital signature, custom and duties in France

In this section, there is information about ecommerce law, privacy and data protection, consumer protection, digital signature, custom and duties, electronic contracting, computer crime and intellectual property rights and labeling in France.

Privacy and Data Protection
The Law on Privacy Protection in relation to the Processing of Personal Data was issued in France in 1978 (Act 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on Data Processing, Data Files and Individual Liberties). The European Directive on this subject was only published three years later, on 24 October 1995, and France transposed it into national legislation by the Law issued on 6 August 2004. The French regulations, with regard to the use of “cookies” and other similar techniques, are included in the Law on Privacy Protection and have received further interpretation by the French Privacy Commission (the CNIL).

Consumer Protection
The consumer protection in the context of ecommerce under French law is mainly regulated by the Law issued on 22 June 2004 for the Trust in Digital Economy. It contains matters such as rules on advertising, labelling, price indication, e-contracting and other information to be provided to the consumer, as well as on the publication of online content. The European rules on distance selling and distant selling of financial products have been transposed separately and included into the French Consumer Code. The rules on unsolicited communications have been incorporated into the Postal and Electronic Communications Code.

Digital Signatures and Authentication
In 2000, several provisions of the French civil code have been modified in order to make electronic documents and signatures legally acceptable. In 2004, the Law in the Trust in Digital Economy has regulated the liability of certification service providers issuing qualified digital certificates.

Custom and Duties
If goods are imported from outside the EU, import duties may become due based on the tariff classification, customs value and origin of the goods. VAT shall become due upon importation from non-EU countries when the goods are to be declared for use within this country. The customs/VAT warehousing procedure allows the storage of goods without such goods being subject to import duties (neither VAT nor customs duties are due). A non-EU taxable person who imports goods into France in his own name must register for VAT purposes and appoint a fiscal representative. A taxable person established outside this country, but within an EU Member State, can either register directly for VAT, or register through the appointment of a tax representative.

More in-depth information (including sources) about ecommerce law, privacy and data protection, consumer protection, digital signature, custom and duties, electronic contracting, computer crime and intellectual property can be found in the Cross-border Ecommerce Report - France