For online shop operators in the EU, the so-called country of origin principle means that the legal requirements are governed by the law of their State of domicile. The State of domicile is the State in which the online shop operator established his/her company. The country of origin principle therefore has the advantage that an online shop operator who wishes to provide services in another EU Member State in which he/she does not have a permanent establishment only has to comply with the legislation of his/her country of establishment.
If the online shop operator established his/her company in Austria, then, in principle, Austrian law applies.
However, there are a number of exceptions to this. The main exceptions are:
- industrial property rights
- contractual obligations relating to consumer contracts, including statutory information requirements which have a decisive influence on the decision to conclude the contract
- permissibility of unsolicited advertising by email
- gambling activities and games of chance, including lotteries and betting transactions
Consumer contracts are the most important exception for online shop operators. This means that online shop operators who sell goods or services to consumers from other EU Member States must also observe the consumer protection law of the Member State concerned.
If an online shop operator from Austria distributes goods or services to consumers from Austria, Austrian consumer law must be applied. If an online shop operator from Austria distributes goods or services to consumers from Germany, German consumer law must be observed.
Further information for consumers on ‘Applicable law for online shopping’German text can be found at oesterreich.gv.at.
responsible for content: Federal Ministry of Justice