For Beginner eMerchants

Read this article if you are new to selling online! Learn about the rules and regulations involved with internet retailing.

All newly installed online stores must meet the following requirements:

1. The entrepreneur must disclose their real data to consumers, such as the company’s name, location, e-mail address, and telephone number that people can use to turn to the company in case of problems.

2. Consumers must be provided with a clear and detailed description of the purchase process. Online stores must include information on the conditions of sale and said information must be easily accessible for consumers.

The following information must be presented in an easily accessible way on the online store’s website:

  • the company’s name, location, e-mail address and telephone number that people can use to turn to the company in case of problems;
  • the final price of goods, shipping costs and all relevant taxes (in case there are any);
  • terms for the cancellation of orders and return policy;
  • the right to file complaints;
  • warranty terms;
  • product shipping period;
  • information regarding liability for the cost of returning goods and the arrangement of such liabilities;
  • information regarding the purposes for processing clients’ personal data and any third parties the online retail has the right to share that data with.

3. Upon receiving an order, the online retailer must confirm it immediately (by means of automatic order confirmations, invoices or other such documents).

4. The online retailer must inform consumers of sales prices and unit prices. Sales price is the final price for a product unit or a quantity of goods. Unit price is the cost of goods per one kilogram, litre, metre, square metre or cubic metre.

5. Goods must be complimented with detailed product information in Estonian. If the consumer makes the wrong decision due to insufficient product information, they have the right to withdraw from the contract without entailing costs and demand compensation from the entrepreneur.

6. The consumer must be presented with the total price of goods, inclusive of tax and all additional freight, postal or other delivery costs, if the consumer has to cover these costs (if the postal costs depend on the size of the order then they must be presented no later than in the shopping cart; if not, then the consumer must be made aware of the postal costs beforehand).

7. The consumer must understand the arrangements for payment, delivery and execution of an order and the time by which the goods are delivered, the service is provided or other acts are performed (invoice due date, delivery period or the term for fulfilling contractual obligations in case of services).

8. Where a right of withdrawal exists, the conditions, time limit and procedures for exercising that right, as well as standard form of application for withdrawal must be presented in accordance with the corresponding regulation of the Minister of Justice.

NB! Where a right of withdrawal is not prescribed according to subsection 53 (4) of the Law of Obligations Act, the consumer must be given information that they have no right of withdrawal or, if the consumer may lose the right of withdrawal, information about the circumstances under which the right of withdrawal will be lost.

9. Information on who shall bear the costs of returning the goods if the consumer withdraws from the contract. The consumer is required to bear the costs of returning the goods only if the entrepreneur informed them of such an obligation prior to signing the contract. If the entrepreneur fails to present the consumer with these details before entering into the contract, the entrepreneur is required to bear said costs.

10. If the consumer bears the costs of returning the goods after they withdraw from the contract, the online retailer must return to the consumer the cost of delivery of the goods borne by the consumer at the time of placing the order (if such a cost was included in the order). If the consumer does not withdraw from the contract in full, the postal cost borne by the consumer at the time of placing the order must be returned proportionally to the number of goods in the order. For example, if the order included two products and the postal cost for delivery was €2.50, then the consumer must be reimbursed for €1.25 with regard to the postal cost.

11. If the online retailer grants an additional warranty against defects (e.g. a warranty from the manufacturer) in addition to the legal remedies provided by law, they must describe the existence and terms thereof.

12. The consumer must be presented with information on their right to raise claims and the procedure for exercising that right, including possible time limitations.

13. The company must describe their procedure for settling complaints (e.g. information on the contact details or reception times of a designated employee who deals with complaints or a specific e-mail address where clients can send their complaints).

14. Contract terms must include information regarding reasons for processing personal data, the composition of processed personal data, the procedures and methods used for processing personal data, and allowing personal data to be shared with third parties.

15. The online retailer provides information on the possibilities of the consumer to have recourse to a body settling extra-judicial complaints and disputes and the terms and conditions of recourse. In Estonia, the Consumer Disputes Committee operating at the Consumer Protection Board functions as the body settling extra-judicial complaints; the Committee is competent to resolve disputes which arise from contracts between consumers and entrepreneurs that the contracting parties are unable to agree over, provided that the goods or services under question amount to €20 or more. The examination of a complaint by the committee is free of charge for the parties.

16. If the entrepreneur is also the importer or packages the goods in plastic, cardboard or any other packaging material for consumers, they must join a recovery organisation, submit reports on the weight of packaging and pay excise duty on packaging

17. Agreements derogating from law to the detriment of the consumer are not permitted and considered to be null and void. Current legislation in the Republic of Estonia that online retailers must observe and follow according to their field:

  • Alcohol Act
  • Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act
  • Trademarks Act
  • Trading Act
  • Competition Act
  • Value-Added Tax Act
  • Taxation Act
  • Packaging Excise Duty Act
  • Packaging Act
  • Advertising Act
  • Consumer Protection Act
  • Food Act
  • Product Conformity Act
  • Tobacco Act
  • Income Tax Act
  • Tourism Act
  • Employment Contracts Act
  • Law of Obligations Act
  • Commercial Code
  • 19. The Estonian Data Protection Inspectorate has put together in-depth guidelines on establishing a safe online store:

    20. Additionally there important regulations of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding the field of entrepreneurs:

  • Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011, on consumer rights
  • Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)
  • Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety
  • Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin
  • Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
  • Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market