Mon, Mar. 14, 2005

Online Sale and Shipping Charge

ACP - Washington.   The Appellate Court of Hamburg, Oberlandesgericht Hamburg, decided recently that internet sellers need to cleary identify shipping costs charged to buyers on the specific product page; docket number Az. 5 U 128/04. The Court held it insufficient to merely post a link, an asterisk and the words More Info that lead to another page which, in turn, details additional shipping charges, or would force the buyer to scroll down to a legend of shipping charges.

An advertisement by a commercial Internet seller offering ISDN computer cards for 69.00 Euros triggered the dispute. Next to the product, a link labeled More Info led to shipping fees at the bottom of another page. The product page also featured an order button.

The court of appeals noted that the structure of the web site violates §1(6) of the price regulations, Preisangabenverordnung - PAngV. The site design misleads the average costumer who does not expect additional price information by clicking on a More Info link that is separate from the order button. The court believes that the costumer anticipates more technical information by clicking on an information link.

Finally, the Court ratified the common practice of posting deep links on sales sites that leads to another page with applicable price and shipping information; such designs would not mislead the consumer.

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