New French rules applicable to supply of digital content and service come into force on 1st of January 2022: there is still time to comply!
A French law dated 29 September 2021 strengthens the rules applicable to contracts for the provision of digital content and services concluded with consumers. These provisions, included in the French Consumers Code, will apply from 1st of January 2022.
The law supplements the existing pre-contractual information obligations. The contract shall notably indicate the conditions of duration, renewal and interruption of the services as well as the existence of any fees payable by the consumer in the event of early termination. Before the contract execution, the consumer shall also be informed of the nature of any benefit granted by the latter in exchange for the provision of the digital content or service, instead of or in addition to the price.
The law also introduces a new statutory warranty of conformity applicable to any provision of digital content and services. Provisions relating to the assessment of the lack of conformity and on remedies available to the consumers in case of claim under the statutory warranty are specified.
Finally, new specific obligations adapted to the digital environment are implemented, notably concerning information and supply of updates and the possibility of retrieving the content provided by consumers using the services in the context of the statutory warranty.
The reality check
- Does my offer constitute a provision of digital content or services?
- Is the consumer required to provide me with a benefit (use of his/her image, content created by him/her, his/her personal data, etc.) instead of or in addition to the price of the digital content or service provided?
- Is there a minimum commitment period for my offer? Are there any fees applicable in case of early termination of the contract?
- What remedies do I offer to consumers in the event of a lack of conformity (bring into conformity, suspension of payment, reduction or reimbursement of the price)?
- Have I set up a procedure for returning consumer content or data? In which situations and under which conditions ?
- What procedures have I implemented for supplying and installing updates (information, periodicity, etc.)? Can the consumer refuse updates that affect the digital content or service provided?
Actions to be implemented
- Verify and adapt your terms and conditions, commercial offers and invoices to verify their compliance with these new requirements, in particular with regard to the clarity of the information provided and the procedures pursuant to which consumers may exercise their rights.
- Verify and adapt your operational processes in place for customer and after-sales service to meet the requirements of the new statutory warranty of conformity applicable to the provision of digital content and services.
- Verify and adapt your commitments regarding the functionality, compatibility, accessibility, continuity and security of the digital content and services.
- Verify and adapt the conditions of supply, installation and refusal of updates.