Dropshipping is a practice that lies halfway between e-commerce and the marketplace. In recent years, it has become increasingly popular in France. However, there are doubts about its legality in the country, doubts that we will dispel through the information we will provide in this article.
Conditions for the legality of dropshipping in France
Dropshipping has not yet been in existence for many years in France and already has a large number of followers. Its success has also attracted a large number of detractors. One of the arguments against dropshipping is that it is illegal. However, the answer to the question " Is dropshipping legal ?" is yes, but there are some conditions to fulfil if you want to start:
- You will need to write your legal notices to ensure that your business complies with your legal obligations.
- You will need to draft your dropshipping T&Cs to provide a legal framework for your relationship with your customers.
- You will need to draw up a dropshipping contract to legally govern your relationship with your suppliers.
To get started in dropshipping, you can find free GTC templates on the Internet. You can also take inspiration from the terms and conditions of another dropshipping site, but make sure you don't copy and paste them. Note that French law does not accept Shopify's CGVs. In fact, they expose you to considerable financial and criminal penalties.
It is also important to consider the taxation of your business. This depends on a number of parameters, including the corporate form of your business.
Is signing a contract necessary for legal dropshipping?
As with any business relationship, having your supplier sign a contract is normal. Because of the importance of this document, you need to take extra care when drawing it up. Indeed, as has already been pointed out, it is this document that legally governs your relationship with your supplier.
In practice, however, such a contract is only rarely signed. Many dropshippers do not have an instrument to take effective legal action against their suppliers in the event of problems such as non-delivery of products, poor quality of materials or the disappearance of the supplier.
The contractualisation of your relationship with your supplier must therefore be at the top of your priorities. Great care must be taken when drawing up this contract. A supplier may impose a contract on you, but do not bend over backwards to avoid the risk, for example, of the case being brought before a Chinese court.
However, there's nothing to stop you from negotiating certain clauses in your supplier's contract. Even so, we recommend that you choose suppliers based in France and Europe, as they will make it easier for you to resolve contractual issues.
When is legal dropshipping questioned?
When engaging in dropshipping, many individuals fall into the trap of deceptive commercial practices and the use of GTCs that do not comply with the law in force in France. In order to know what a misleading commercial practice is, it is important to refer to the provisions of the Consumer Code. Three conditions are set out in the Code for a practice to be classified as such: creation of confusion with another good or service, based on false statements, indications or presentations and impossibility of properly identifying the seller. However, a number of products on sale on Aliexpress may be confusing with the product offered by a particular brand.
The DGCRF or the DDPP regularly summons dropshippers to their premises to interview them about the practices of their dropshipping site in order to determine whether or not these are irregular.
The DGCCRF or the DDPP regularly summons dropshippers to its premises for a hearing to hear them on their irregular dropshipping practices. It should be noted that many dropshippers still allow themselves to be tempted, for example, by the practice of false promotions and thus mislead many buyers.
The non-conformity of the GTC with French law is also a problem often raised by these organisations' investigations. Indeed, many dropshippers regularly use GTCs from Shopify, even when they are aware that they do not comply with French law.
Penalties for not doing legal dropshipping in France
If it is proven that you are engaging in a deceptive commercial practice and that your dropshipping activity is illegal, you risk serious penalties. These can be up to 2 years imprisonment. A fine of €300,000 will be added to this if you are operating as a self-employed entrepreneur or under the micro regime. 1.5 million for a SARL, SAS, SASU or EURL.
The question "is dropshipping legal?" can therefore be answered with a "yes". However, this legality cannot be achieved without compliance with the legal and regulatory provisions in force. An expert like Minea is ready to explain them to you in detail.