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What is a remote purchase?

Verified 03 October 2019 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Directorate-General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF)

Remote purchasing consists of buying a good or a service delivery on the Internet, by catalog, telephone, teleshopping, direct mail, SMS... Distance purchasing contracts are regulated. However, some purchases are excluded from the regulation of distance contracts.

The regulation of distance contracts applies to the purchase of property or the provision of services. These contracts are concluded between an individual and a professional and by means of a remote communication technique:

  • sale by catalog (order form sent by postal mail),
  • phone
  • internet
  • email...

2 elements must therefore be brought together: a contract between a professional and a consumer, without the simultaneous physical presence of the 2 parties (at a distance), from the offer until the conclusion of the contract.

The place of delivery or payment does not matter (at the time of removal of the goods, in store for example).

The regulation of distance contracts shall apply in particular in the following cases:

  • Contracts paid in the form of vouchers, gift vouchers or loyalty points with monetary value and service contracts including a free trial period and converted into paid contracts at the end of the free period
  • Free provision of public services or online digital content (free download of a game from an app store...)
  • Seasonal rental contracts, contracts for furnished or non-rented accommodation as a second home, contracts for the rental of a parking space or a party room
  • Real estate agent service contracts
  • Service contracts for construction, renovation of annexes to buildings (e.g. garage, veranda)
  • Contracts for the supply of water, gas or electricity, where they are not conditioned in a limited volume or in a specified quantity, on the supply of district heating
  • Contracts relating to digital content not provided on a material medium (computer programs, applications, games, music, videos or texts for download or streaming...)

The regulation of distance contracts does not apply to contracts:

  • distance purchasing between private individuals,
  • distance purchasing between professionals,
  • distance purchases whereby the consumer transfers a good to a professional (sales of used cars to a garage operator, sale of goods to a dealer),
  • financial services (e.g. banking or remote insurance),
  • concluded by means of a vending machine (e.g. purchase of a transport ticket at a terminal at a station) or automated commercial sites (drinks vending machines, automated service station),
  • on gambling,
  • relating to social or health services (with exceptions),
  • relating to a tourist package,
  • on the use of timeshare (timeshare) or long-term holiday products or resale and exchange of such services or products,
  • written by a public officer (notary for example),
  • on passenger transport services (with exceptions),
  • concerning the purchase of food, beverages or other everyday consumer goods delivered by a trader on frequent and regular visits to the home or workplace,
  • concluded by a telecommunications operator for the use of a single connection by telephone (e.g. in a cyber café), internet or fax, including value added services and products accessible by telephone or SMS (e.g. weather services),
  • relating to the creation, acquisition or transfer of immovable property or rights in immovable property, the construction of new immovables, the substantial conversion of existing immovables or the rental of a dwelling as that principal dwelling..