The so called „Button Solution“ has already been effective in Germany for three years. German law lists requirements for the design of „Buy“ buttons and raised substantial attention in the media. The Swiss solution, however, differs in a few key aspects.
Firstly, there is an important difference in the scope of application. The Swiss „Button Solution“ applies to online services related to consulting, information, entertainment, marketing and fee sharing. A detailed list can be found in the enactment. The second central difference lies in the legal consequences. In Germany, the violation agains the button law means that the contract is not binding. Following Swiss law on the other hand, the contract is always valid except in the case of malicious deceit. However, merchants who do not comply to the new regulation can see themselves confronted with a law suit for unfair competition.
If applicable for merchants - there are two ways in which the „Button Solution“ can be implemented in a shop.
- 1. Direct: The price is displayed on the button.
- 2. Indirect: The price is displayed in close proximity to the button, is easy to read and the button must display „zahlungspflichtig bestellen“ (order with obligation to pay)or a closely similar warning message.
Merchants are now obliged to clearly show which contract the customer enters by clicking on the button. The customer must have full knowledge of the total costs and has to confirm their acknowledgement. Hence, declarations such as „order“, „proceed“, and „register“ violate the „Button Solution“.
What does the „Button Solution“ mean for the customer?
Apart from complaints for deceit and error, customers can also initiate a proceeding for unfair competition through SECO if the preconditions stated in Art. 9 f UWG are fulfilled (https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classified-compilation/19860391/index.html). This option is also open for consumer associations.
Implications for Swiss merchants catering to German customers and German merchants:
Swiss Merchants who deliver to Germany as well as German merchants should already fulfill all legal requirements today.