Distance shopping, e-commerce: steps and recourse in case of dispute

Verified 22 March 2021 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

In case of a problem following a remote purchase (e-commerce via internet, telephone...), you must first seek an amicable solution (arbitration, mediation...). To do this, you must first contact the seller. You can also file a complaint on the online ODR. platform. If this does not work, you have to call on the consumer ombudsman. Finally, as a last resort, you can go to court. In case of deception, you must call on the DGCCRF: titleContent.

Seller located in France

Contact Seller

You must first contact the customer service by e-mail or telephone.

Then, if there is no response or if the response is not satisfactory, you should contact the consumer service.

Their contact details must be on the seller's website or on the invoice.

They are included in the "General Terms and Conditions of Sale" (GTC) or in "Legal Notice".


the telephone call to customer or consumer service cannot be overcharged, you pay the price of a local call.

If you don't get satisfaction, you need to write a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

The letter shall contain the following elements:

  • Understanding Your Problem
  • Purchased Product References
  • Copy of your invoice
  • Presentation of a solution that will suit you (e.g. a new delivery)

Please note

you must keep a copy of each document proving your steps (postal letter, acknowledgement of receipt, emails, reply from the seller, invoice for purchases, etc.)

Seek advice from an association

To advise you in your steps, you can contact a consumer association.

Entering the Online Dispute Resolution Platform

If you have not found a solution by contacting the seller, you can file a complaint on the online dispute resolution platform (ODR. platform).

Online dispute resolution - domestic or EU purchases

Entering a Consumption Mediator

If the problem is not resolved, you must call on a consumer mediator.

Online dispute resolution - domestic or EU purchases

You can choose a mediator from the following list:

Finding a Consumer Mediator

In case of unfair commercial practice

If you believe that you have been falsely informed about the price (product or delivery) or have been deceived, you must alert the DGCCRF: titleContent.

Example :

We sold you a leather couch that turns out to be made of imitation leather. The new smartphone purchased is in fact a reconditioned product.

Who shall I contact

Finally, when you have not been able to reach an amicable solution, you can go to court.

In the case of an offense (deception, swindle, etc), you must bring the matter before the criminal justice complaining.

For all other cases, you must enter the civil justice.

Seller located abroad

The situation varies depending on whether the seller is located in one of the Member States of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, the United Kingdom or any other country.

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European Union, Norway, Iceland, United Kingdom

The dispute is less than €2,000

You must file a complaint on the online dispute resolution platform.

Online dispute resolution - domestic or EU purchases

The dispute is greater than or equal to 2,000 €

You must contact the European Consumer Center France.

Other country

You must enter the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) online. 

It deals with claims against sellers located in the 28 member countries of the network (including the United States).

File a complaint about a purchase made on a foreigner website

The trader is not identifiable

If the seller's country is not specified or if the trader is not identifiable, you have the option to report online on the following platform:

Report illegal internet content (internet-reporting: Pharos)