Online sales, in-store sales, what are the differences?

Online and in-store balances every other Wednesday. But consumers are more protected when selling online.

Sales start in Tarbes stores, photo by Stéphane Boularand (c)

The 2023 winter sales start on Wednesday at 8am, except in some border departments such as Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle and in the Vosges where the winter sales have already started a week earlier. Four weeks of sales which should start with heavy discounts because sales were quite disappointing with the weather not favorable for sales with autumn temperatures too high to sell the autumn-winter collection. Products remaining in stock that merchants must sell to make room for the next collection. A sales start which is also a good opportunity to give some tips and remind you of the framework in which this high point of the sales season takes place for stores and e-commerce sites.

Common points between online sales and in-store sales

Whether in store or online, sales are determined by the same texts: the law on the modernization of the economy of August 4, 2008 that defines the dates and subsequent orders, what can be sold, prices and guarantees.

What can be sold: the law on the modernization of the economy stipulates that the products for sale must have been offered for sale and paid for at least one month from the start date of the sale period.

Prices: the cross reference price and discount in absolute value or in percentage should be mentioned on the labels. The reference price may not exceed the lowest price currently charged by the advertiser for a similar item or service, in the same retail establishment or distance selling location, during the last thirty days prior to the start of the advertisement. The reference price determined in this way may be maintained in case of price reductions announced consecutively during the same commercial operation, within the limit of one month from the first announcement of the price reduction, or during the same period of sales or liquidation according to the decree of December 31. , 2008. Suffice it to say that it is complex to control and therefore many sites do not always respect this restriction. Beware of fake discounts.

Warranty: items purchased on sale benefit from the same warranties as other items. The notice “neither return nor exchange” does not exempt the seller from exchange or refund of the item in case of a hidden defect according to Article 1641 of the Civil Code. This therefore excludes items whose imperfections or poor workmanship are easily discernible to the consumer.

Differences between online sales and in-store sales

What distinguishes in-store sales from online sales is that the latter are subject to distance selling rules. In this context, customers have a cooling-off period. It is the possibility for the customer to change his mind about his purchase which can be exercised before or 14 days after delivery. Except for some specific products defined byarticle L221-28 which includes, for example, the purchase of clearly personalized items, food or items not sealed by the customer after delivery and which cannot be returned for reasons of hygiene or health protection. Apart from these special cases, it cannot be applied to online sales neither refunded nor exchanged, because the customer must be able to exchange his item or get a refund, without penalty and without having to justify his decision.

In the event of a dispute, the consumer may refer to the competent mediator after attempting to resolve the dispute directly in accordance witharticle L612-1 of the consumer code. The broker’s contact details must be displayed “in a visible and legible manner on the trader’s website, in the general conditions of sale, on order forms or, in the absence of such media, by any other means of suitable. (article R616-1). If mediation does not lead to an amicable solution, the consumer may take legal action.

So, in addition to allowing shop browsing at digital speed and offering a choice beyond what is available in stores, regulating online sales is more protective for the consumer as they come under the crossfire of distance and sales regulations. the sale.

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