Setting up your store to comply with German laws

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Every country has its own set of requirements the online businesses must comply with. If you run your online business in Germany, you need to make sure your online store meets those of your country.

Online store has all the necessary features that will help you setup your store so it complies with German laws. We designed the features as separate settings that you can enable/disable at any time in your Control Panel.

In this article:

Enable specific features

In order to activate German specific features you should set German address as your company address in Control Panel → Eins tellungen → Allgemein → Shopprofil.

Set up product taxes

Your products are to indicate proper tax rates. Tax setup in Online store consists of a few settings. Currently, there are 2 ways you can set up taxes in your store — automatic and manual. In order to set tax rates, proceed to Einstellungen Steuern.

Please, refer to this article to find the detailed instructions on how to set up taxes properly: Taxes

Please, note that if there is more than one tax rate in your store you need to assign the necessary tax to each product manually. Go to Katalog Artikel, open each product and enable the proper tax rate for this product by marking a checkbox next to it in the "Steuern und Versandkosten" tab.

VAT-exemption for small businesses

If you are a small business owner and your turnover is not big, you may not be required to collect and pay VAT. However, the law obliges the owners of such small businesses to notify their customers about their special tax status. To enable such notification in your store, please proceed to Einstellungen → Steuern and enable the option “Ich bin Kleinunternehmer gemäß § 19 UStG”:

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As the option is enabled, the corresponding note will be shown on the Product Details pages in your store:

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Please, note that enabling this option does not affect the actual tax calculation process in your store. The way the taxes are calculated and displayed to your store customers must be configured separately, here are the instructions: Taxes

If you no longer meet the criteria for getting the special tax status and are obliged to collect VAT, please, set your tax rates in the Einstellungen → Steuern and disable the option “Ich bin Kleinunternehmer gemäß § 19 UStG”.

Setting up product properties

You can set required product properties using product attributes:

  • First, you need to create a product type and attributes for it. This can be done in Einstellungen → Artikelsorten. A product type represents a set of product attributes.
  • Create a new product type and assign the necessary attributes (like Lieferzeit, Webstoff) to it. You will be able to set the exact values for those later on.

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  • Once the necessary attributes are created within a product type, you need to connect your products with this product type. Go to Katalog → Artikel, open each product and in the Merkmale tab click the '[ Sorte ändern ]' link. Then choose the appropriate product type. After that, enter individual values for the product attributes in the displayed table.

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For Lieferzeit you might want to put an asterisk into the attribute value to add a footnote regarding the shipping costs.

For a detailed guide on Products and attributes please refer to this article.

Displaying product characteristics

It will be easier for your customers to decide what product to purchase in your store if the products’ essential characteristics are shown on the Product Details page. You can add such characteristics as product attributes.

Once the product attributes are set, they will be shown on the Product Details page, on the Cart page, and on the Order Confirmation page.

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Setting up weight / volume / length per package and price per unit

If a product can be measured in units such as kilograms, liters, meters, you need to specify the exact price for that unit of measurement in your store. Navigate to Einstellungen → Allgemein → Warenkorb page and enable "Einzelpreis anzeigen" option. After that:

  • Set the displayed names for these parameters as a part of the product type on Einstellungen → Artikelsorten as described in the previous section. Each product type allows setting its own displayed names for these parameters. So you should have one product type for liquid products (beer, juice etc) measured in liters and a different product type for products measured in 100 grams units (cheese, nuts).

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  • Once these properties are set as product types, you can connect those properties to a product (go to Katalog Artikel, open each product and in the Eigenshaften tab click the "Art ändern" link to choose the appropriate product type.)
  • Then set the values for those parameters: click the dropdown button next to the product price in the price editor and enter the necessary values to the corresponding fields.

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  • Please make sure that the price per unit also includes all applicable taxes 

Energy Labels and Product Data Sheet

If you sell energy-consuming products in your store (household electrical appliances, electric lamps, etc), you are obliged to show the energy labels and the datasheet for such products. You can do this with the help of our special application "Energy labels". This app allows you to fulfill the law requirements and provide your customers with the necessary information about your energy-consuming products.

The application can be installed from App Market. Once the app is installed, a detailed instruction on how to add energy labels and product data sheet will be shown under the “Energy Labels” tab in your Katalog → Energy Labels. If you don't have access to this app, please, contact your Online store provider. 

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If you don't have access to App Market and Energy Label app, please, contact your Online store service provider

Expiration of Right of Return for digital products

If you sell E-goods, your customers are eligible to return purchases within 14 days for a full refund unless they have started downloading or streaming digital goods. If you would like to avoid refund requests for the digital products purchased in your store, you may ask your customers for a consent to the expiration of the right of return when a digital item is purchased.

To enable this option in your store, please go to Einstellungen → Allgemein → Rechtliche Hinweise and activate the “Kontrollkästchen zum Einholen der Einwilligung zum vorzeitigen Erlöschen des Widerrufsrechts bei digitalen Produkten” option:

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When the option is enabled, the corresponding mandatory checkbox will be shown on the Cart page in your store.

Permission to use personal data

You may need to use your customers’ email addresses for different store purposes - for example, pass them over to a shipping carrier company. The customer's e-mail address is considered personal data, which means you should receive explicit permissions from the customers to use their e-mails. To request such permission from your store customers, you can add a special checkbox to the store checkout page.

To enable and set the checkbox, please go to Einstellungen → Allgemein → Rechtliche Hinweise and activate the “Einwilligung zur Verarbeitung von personenbezogenen Daten (E-Mails)” option.

Once the option is activated, the corresponding checkbox will be displayed on the Payment Details page at checkout, under the e-mail address input field:

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After a customer grants a permission to use his/her e-mail address, this information will also be shown in the order details:

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Legal notices on your website

It is required to display legal information concerning delivery, privacy policy, terms of service, etc in your store. Please, contact your legal advisor to get required legal documents.

More details on this feature: Legal pages

a. Adding links to legal pages in Wordpress.org

  1. Login to your WP Admin area. In the menu choose Appearance > Menus. Create a new menu for your legal pages. 
  1. Once the menu is ready, save it and go to Appearance > Widgets. From the selection of widgets, drag the 'Custom menu' widget into the footer widget area or sidebar area (depending on where you’d like to show these links). In the Menu dropdown of this new widget select the menu you just created.
  1. For the Lieferzeit footnote, in the Appearance > Widgets drag the Text widget into the footnote area. Add the text of your footnote:

* Gilt für Lieferungen innerhalb Deutschland. Lieferzeiten für andere Länder finden Sie <a href="LINK">HIER</a>

Replace the LINK in this text with the URL of your Versandkosten page (you can find the URL for this page as described above)

  1. If you offer express shipping methods, your Lieferzeit attribute might say:

Standard max. 5 Tage, Express 1 Tag*

And then the footnote text should be:

*Gilt für Lieferungen nach Deutschland bei Standardversand. Bei Expressversand gilt eine Lieferzeit von 1 Tag innerhalb Deutschlands. Lieferzeiten für andere Länder und Informationen zur Berechnung des Liefertermins siehe <a href="LINK">hier</a>

Again, replace the LINK in this text with the URL of your Versandkosten page (you can find out the URL for this page as described above).

Online Dispute Resolution

According to one of the European directives, every European trader should provide a link to the platform for online dispute resolution (so-called "OS-platform") where the trader and a customer could try to resolve their disputes about online purchases out-of-court.

To meet this requirement, just add a short description and a link to the OS-platform in the “About us” page (Einstellungen → Allgemein → Rechtliche Hinweise).

Here are the examples of such link and description:

Notices on checkout pages

Sometimes you may want to show your customers an important note at checkout.

For example, if the customers are outside of the European Union, some extra charges like customs duty may appear. Adding such notes to your store is possible with the help of a special application which allows to display any text at the top of the following checkout pages:

  • Cart page
  • Shipping Details page
  • Payment Details page
  • Place Order page
  • Order Confirmation page

The application ''Checkout notices" can be installed from App Market. As the app is installed, open it and click "Enable" near the name of the page you'd like to add a note to, then enter your text to the field that appears. 

If the note you’d like to add to the store checkout pages contains the information about the extra charges (e.g. customs duty), we also recommend adding this information to the Order confirmation email. You can change the notification template in Einstellungen → E-Mail.