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Terms and conditions: a practical guide

General terms and conditions of sale (T&Cs) are a legally binding agreement between a seller and a customer in an online store. T&Cs protect both the seller and the customer in the event of a distance purchase. To this end, they set out in writing the rights and obligations of both parties in a distance-selling transaction.

T&Cs may go by many other names, but should not be confused with general terms and conditions of use, or a website's privacy policy, which fulfil different purposes and legal obligations for website owners.

What the Consumer Code says (France)

The French Consumer Code requires all professional sellers offering products or services for sale to private individuals to provide the customer with a set of information before placing an order.

In practice, this obligation translates into the drafting of General Terms and Conditions of Sale (Abbreviation CGV in French) containing essential information enabling the customer to identify the seller, the product or service purchased, and the terms of the distance selling contract between the customer and the seller.

What should the T&Cs contain in France?

In accordance with the French Consumer Code, your website's General Terms and Conditions of Sale must include a number of mandatory terms. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  • General information identifying the seller (usually listed separately on a "Legal information" page)

  • Name or company name

  • Status and legal form of company

  • Postal address (business address or, if different, registered office address)

  • Telephone number

  • E-mail address

  • Business information

  • Address and identity of the trader on whose behalf he is acting, address of the trader's registered office and the address to which the consumer can address any complaints.

  • Registration number in the Trade and Companies Register (RCS) or in the Trade Register, if registered.

  • If applicable, adherence to a professional code of conduct, and conditions for obtaining a copy.

  • Identity and contact details of hosting company

  • If applicable, contact details of the issuing authority

  • If applicable, individual tax identification number

  • A description or reference to a description of the products and services sold on the site

  • The description must inform the consumer of the essential characteristics of the product or service sold.

  • The quantity and quality of the product or service

  • The total price to be paid for the product or service: the price must include details of all components payable by the customer (applicable taxes, delivery charges, etc.).

  • Information on the terms and methods of payment accepted by the seller

  • Information on product delivery and return conditions

  • Delivery times

  • Delivery method

  • Information on applicable legal warranties: these conditions must appear in a box in the T&Cs.

  • Information on the right of withdrawal

Need help writing your terms and conditions?

The MERCASAFE T&C template is available in our Mercasafe Packages for your website, at prices tailored to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.


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