Selling online: how to comply with the rules

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

Online stores (webshops) must protect their customers. You must always be clear about what you are selling, the price, and the delivery time. Read which laws and regulations your online business must comply with. Use the checklist below to ensure you do not forget anything.

What are the rules for selling online?

If you sell services or products online, you must comply with existing regulations. You must be clear about:

  • who you are
  • what you sell
  • the price you ask and how your customer has to pay
  • how (fast) you deliver
  • the statutory cooling-off period
  • how your customer can place an order

Do you also post consumer reviews? Then:

  • you must check that consumer reviews are genuine;
  • you are not allowed to post false reviews or have someone else post them.

You must also:

  • tell your customers if you pay for search results;
  • offer discounts with the true discount. So no made-up original prices.

These rules are implemented across the EU

The rules make it safer for consumers to buy online internationally. The same rules apply to you and your foreign competitors.

    Watch our webinar 'How to start an online shop' for a full overview of the rules for online sales

    Comply with consumer law

    If you sell a product or service, this comes under consumer law. This also applies to online sales. For example, your customer must pay the agreed price, and the product you supply must meet requirements and guidelines.

    Read what your rights and obligations are as a seller regarding consumer law.

    Different rules for sales to businesses

    • Consumer law does not apply to sales to other businesses: in this case, your customer is not entitled to a statutory cooling-off period and different guarantee rules apply.
    • Mandatory prepayment: you can require business customers to pay the entire purchase price in advance. This is not the case for consumers.

    Rules for online payments

    The law states that consumer customers do not have to pay more than 50% of the amount in advance, although they can do so voluntarily. You can also provide different payment methods. For example:

    • iDEAL: this online payment method lets customers pay in advance through their bank. You must conclude an iDEAL agreement with a participating payment service.
    • PayPal: you can use this payment platform Your customers pay with their PayPal Balance, or a linked bank account or credit card.
    • Buy now, pay later: various payment services provide a payment guarantee on behalf of consumers. These services take over the risk.

    Read all rules for online payments

    Checklist: 3 steps to follow the rules when doing business online

    Register your webshop at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK) and keep good records. You must pay income tax and VAT. Read what you have to do in the step-by-step plan to start a webshop.

    If you sell services or products online, you must comply with all basic regulations. For example, you must be clear about who you are and what you are selling. Learn which rules you must follow.

    You have launched your online store, set up the logistics procedures, and you are promoting your business to potential customers. But are you doing everything according to the rules? Watch this webinar to find out more.

    Questions relating to this article?

    Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK