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Applicable law

Caution

In general, these rules also apply to entrepreneurs from EU Member States in Austria.

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:

  • copyright
  • 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.

Example

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.

Please note

Further information for consumers on Applicable law for online shopping can be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

Legal basis

E-Commerce-Gesetz (ECG)

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 16 February 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Justice

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