Electronic termination of contracts

From public transport to insurance, electricity, internet, telephone, newspapers, cinema or music, subscriptions are very numerous in our daily lives. Some of them are even essential to take advantage of a service. It is generally very simple to take out a contract. However, cancelling a contract or unsubscribing is sometimes much more complicated. That is why the recent French law on emergency measures to protect purchasing power includes various consumer protection measures including the simplification of the termination of consumer contracts by electronic means.

Obligation to enable the termination of a contract by electronic means

No later than 1 June 2023, the law imposes an obligation on traders to enable the termination of a contract by electronic means

  • where the contract has been concluded by electronic means or
  • Even if it has been concluded by another means if, on the day of termination, the traders offers consumers the possibility of concluding such contracts by electronic means.

The new provisions are therefore intended to apply very broadly and are not limited to contracts concluded at a distance.

In practice, the trader will have to make available to the consumer a free functionality allowing him to accomplish, by electronic means, the notification and the steps necessary for the termination of the contract. This could be a "cancellation button" accessible on the trader's website, similar to the system developed in Germany.

Once the consumer has expressed his wish of termination, the trader will have to confirm the receipt of the notice and inform the consumer, on a durable medium and within a reasonable time, of the date on which the contract ends and the effects of the termination.

A decree will further specify the technical requirements and information duties.

Failure to comply with these provisions will be punishable by an administrative fine, the amount of which may not exceed €15,000 for an individual and €75,000 for a legal entity.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.