Termination in a few clicks: there are new obligations in France for businesses to offer consumers online termination functionalities

A decree, which entered into force on 1 June, introduced new provisions into the Consumer Code, to allow consumers to terminate contracts online with a few clicks, including a "terminate your contract" button.

The business must :

  1. set up a termination functionality on their websites or mobile applications,
  2. provide for a form allowing consumers to fill in relevant information for termination (e.g., identity, date)
  3. enable the consumers to check such information before confirming the termination. After confirmation, a notification of termination must be send.

Additional information on the notice period, potential termination indemnity if applicable and/or the consequences of cancellation may also be provided by the business.

This termination feature must be offered to consumers whose contract has been concluded: (a) online; or (b) by another mean, if on the day of termination by the consumer, the trader offers the consumers the possibility of concluding contracts online.

The business must not require the consumer to create an account or personal profile page to access the termination feature.

In specific cases, where the consumer terminates the contract early, the decree does allow specific conditions to be tied to the consumer where there are legitimate reasons (for example, in cases of debts and (under case law), dismissal under employment contracts of indefinite duration, force majeure or where consumers moving abroad).

These new rules apply to contracts already in force as of 1 June 2023 and those entered into from this date. Business will need to ensure they implement these new termination features quickly, for example in their customers’ account or by updating the purchasing journey. That said, DGCCRF announced that the traders will have until 1 September 2023 to comply with these new requirements.

Inspired by these provisions, on 12 June 2023, the EU proposed a new directive on financial services contracts concluded at a distance to complement the DSA, requiring sellers who offer to take out contracts online to include a visible and comprehensible button “withdraw from contract here” during the 14-day withdrawal period.

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