Home » Something new again: the self-certification of the platform retailer

Something new again: the self-certification of the platform retailer

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Something new again: the self-certification of the platform retailer

Platform sellers beware: Due to legal changes on February 17, 2024, sales platforms such as Amazon, eBay, etsy, Kaufland, etc. will very promptly require a so-called self-certification from the entrepreneur so that the platforms can comply with the new legal requirements. Read below what this is all about and what you need to do.

What is it about?

The new European Digital Services Act (DSA) will apply from February 17, 2024. The DSA also introduces new obligations for B2C marketplaces. Typical B2C marketplaces include the well-known sales platforms of Amazon, eBay, etsy, Hood, Kaufland, Kasuwa, Otto. What is crucial is that sales are made by entrepreneurs (also) to consumers on the respective marketplace.

The primary aim of the DSA is to combat illegal goods and services in the European Union.

The legislative approach to achieving goals is the so-called “Know Your Business Customer” principle (KYBC).

In the future, marketplace operators will have to ensure that they know the traders who work there exactly and can track their activities. This is intended to ensure that violations of applicable European legislation on online marketplaces are avoided as much as possible.

With regard to the requirements for B2C marketplaces, Article 30 Para. 1 DSA regulates:

1. Providers of online platforms that enable consumers to conclude distance contracts with traders shall ensure that traders can only use those online platforms to advertise and offer their products or services to consumers in the Union , if you have received the following information before using your services for these purposes, insofar as this applies to the entrepreneur:

a) Name, address, telephone number and email address of the entrepreneur,

b) a copy of the trader’s identity document or other electronic identification within the meaning of Article 3 of Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council (40),

c) details of the entrepreneur’s payment account,

d) if the entrepreneur is registered in a commercial register or a similar public register, the commercial register in which he is registered and his commercial register number or an equivalent identifier used in this register,

e) Self-certification by the trader in which he undertakes to only offer products or services that comply with the applicable provisions of Union law.

In the future, platform operators must therefore ensure that they have data from a trader active there, in particular in the form of the full name and address, telephone number, email address and commercial register data (if entered there).

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In addition, the dealer must also provide a self-certification before he or she has access to the sales function.

This new requirement imposes obligations on the marketplace operators themselves, not the traders operating there.

In order for the marketplace operators to be able to fulfill their new obligations, they will generally engage the traders working there as “vicarious agents”.

This means that the traders themselves will have to ensure that they make the above-mentioned information available to the marketplace operator and make it clear in a self-certification that they only offer goods that comply with the applicable provisions of Union law.

Anyone who does not provide this information or this certificate (in a timely manner) will have to expect the sales authorization to be suspended or the seller’s account to be blocked in the long term.

The DSA came into force on November 16, 2022, but will only come into force on February 17, 2024.

Until then, the operators of B2C marketplaces must ensure that they implement the new requirements and “get to know” the traders operating there better.

Since time is now of the essence, more and more platform operators are currently reacting.

What is this self-certification anyway?

First of all, the good news: As the name suggests, the entrepreneur certifies something himself. This means he does not have to go to an authority and possibly have to accept longer waiting times or incur costs.

The second good news: As a rule, the entrepreneur does not have to create the content of such a certificate himself. Most platform operators provide their traders with a ready-made declaration as a certificate, which they then have to agree to, for example by ticking a checkbox.

In the course of this self-certification, the respective retailer must virtually attest to himself that he has committed himself to only offering goods (and, if applicable, services) that comply with the applicable provisions of Union law.

Such a self-certification could have the following content:

As part of this self-certification in accordance with Article 30 Paragraph 1 Letter e of the DSA, I hereby undertake to only offer products and services that comply with the applicable provisions of Union law.

So how does this work in practice?

In practice, it is to be expected that all platform operators will now actively approach retailers operating there in a timely manner and request a corresponding self-certification.

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If the platform operator is missing data in accordance with Article 30 Paragraph 1 Letters a, c DSA, such as the dealer’s telephone number or registration number, it will probably also request this data from the dealer.

As a rule, there are two “construction sites” that marketplace sellers now have to take care of:

1. Self-certification in accordance with Article 30 Paragraph 1 Letter e DSA
2. Availability of the data by the marketplace operator in accordance with Article 30 Paragraph 1 Letters a, c DSA

For example, anyone who does not currently have a telephone number stored at the marketplace they use must, in addition to self-certification, also ensure that the marketplace operator receives the telephone number.

The Kaufland and Otto marketplaces are currently asking retailers operating there to submit the certificate and fill in missing data.

At Kaufland, the self-certification is “activated” at the end of the imprint (account settings > legal texts > imprint). The following checkbox can then be confirmed there:

At Otto.de the self-certification is presented as part of the legal notice, see:

Not an issue for the legal texts

Although some advice from the platform operators may sound like this: the new requirements are not an issue for the legal texts of the respective retailer.

Therefore, no adjustments to the legal texts (imprint, general terms and conditions, data protection declaration or cancellation policy) are necessary.

Something different applies if the dealer has not yet provided mandatory information that is also relevant for the legal notice. Anyone who as a retailer does not provide their telephone number or email address as part of the imprint is already violating the requirements for a proper imprint. The data requested by the market operator must then also be stored as part of the retailer’s imprint.

Another aspect is that some marketplace operators will then technically display the dealer’s self-certification in their legal notice.

Ie, it is quite possible that from February 17, 2024 some marketplaces will provide information such as “The retailer Mustermann GmbH has committed to only offering products and services on the Muster-Mall marketplace that comply with the applicable provisions of Union law.”

The background is that the provision of Art. 30 Para. 7 DSA obliges the marketplace operator (not the marketplace seller) to provide the information in accordance with Art. 30 Para. 1 lit. a, d and e DSA to users (e.g. interested parties and buyers) in a clear manner , in an easily accessible and understandable way within the framework of its online platform, and thus also the self-certification of the respective seller.

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What happens if I don’t react?

If a marketplace dealer does not respond to the marketplace operator’s request, this will definitely lead to consequences.

First of all, it can be assumed that the dealer’s sales authorization will be revoked, meaning that he will no longer be able to post new offers and that currently running offers will be hidden or deactivated.

In the long term, affected seller accounts will probably be completely shut down.

Conclusion

Always new challenges for online retailers.

Although the new requirements of Art. 30 DSA do not affect the marketplace traders themselves, every marketplace seller will have to “participate” in a timely manner by providing self-certification to the platform operator (usually by ticking or confirming a ready-made declaration) and, if necessary, missing data such as submitting his phone number later.

Dealers who do not offer via a sales platform (e.g. when selling exclusively via their own online shop) are not affected by this issue. So there is no need for action here.

Anyone who sells on a B2C online marketplace should therefore read their emails carefully in the next few days. If the marketplace operator requests cooperation, you must respond promptly.

The deadline is February 17th, 2024, also a Saturday.

Otherwise, there is a risk of sales restrictions or even the blocking of seller accounts.

Did you already know that the IT law firm not only supports you with legally compliant, professional and warning-free sales on the Internet (e.g. on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Kaufland). Not only do we not only provide you with warning-proof legal texts, but also provide you with legal support if your seller account is blocked if you have a German-speaking sales presence? You can find details about “account protection” here.

Over 70,000 companies already rely on the protection provided by the IT law firm.

We would be happy to make you legally secure too.

Tip: Do you have any questions about the article? Please feel free to discuss this with us in the
Entrepreneur group of the IT law firm on Facebook.

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