This information is useful for anybody who owns an online store, as well as for those who plan to start a new business in e-commerce. This article includes the rules and legislation concerning e-commerce in Romania. Here is what you will need to know:
Do I need to own a firm?
You can open an online store without previously owning a business or a firm. But you do need to be registered as a trader in order to be allowed to perform any type of commerce activity in Romania. And in order to do that, you need to enlist at the Trade Registry. You can either enlist your company, or yourself, as a PFA.
In Romania, you don’t need a license in order to open an online store. You just need to enlist with the Trade Registry (Registrul Comertului).
The CAEN code for online commerce
In Romania, every trade and economical activity is classified under a specific code. This is known as a CAEN code and it is used mainly as a statistical tool to identify and classify different businesses. The code for online commerce is CAEN 4791. You will need to select this code when you enlist at the Trade Registry. This allows you to legally perform any type of commerce activity online.
If you wish to engage in other types of commercial activities, you can select multiple CAEN codes for your business. You can also edit your company’s activity profile anytime, by filing a petition at the Trade Registry.
Supplying all the necessary information
The online commerce law states that you need to provide your customers with proper identification methods. They need to know who they’re buying from. This is mainly because an online store can be up one day and gone the next. So the seller needs to do this in order to establish trust. If you fail to comply with this rule, you will be eligible for penalties and a fine.
Therefore, you will need to visibly display the following information in your online store, permanently:
- the company’s name or the name of the person who conducts the online business;
- your trade registration number (it is given to you after you enroll at the Trade Registry)
- a phone and/or fax number
- an e-mail address
- the official company address and unique fiscal code (CUI) – this requirement is for companies only!
These information must be displayed visibly on your website. Most online stores chose to include them on the “About Us” or “Contact” pages. The law also requires that all products offered for sale must have a price tag and that all prices must be clear and unambiguous.
Furthermore, any online store owner must post up information regarding the “Terms and conditions” of his online store. The “Terms and conditions” document acts as a form of contract between the seller and the buyer, so it must be clearly displayed.
Last but not least, any and all online shops in Romania are legally bound to post up a link to the ANPC (National Authority for Customer Protection) on their store’s front page. The link is: www.anpc.gov.ro
Do I need to own a cash registry?
This is one of the most pressing matters for any future online seller. And the answer is: not necessarily!
The Romanian law states that you must offer a receipt to any and all buyers who decide to pay cash. But if you wish to avoid this, you can chose to cash your customers’ money using one of these perfectly legal methods:
- credit card payments – the card company issues an invoice
- cash transfer payments
- payments cashed in by a parcel delivery company – they cash the money and they issue the invoice; the money is then transferred to the seller.
Incorporating the “Terms and Conditions”
The “Terms and conditions” is a very important document for any online store. It regulates the trade and acts as a binding contract between the seller and the buyers. Therefore, it is very important that the store owner drafts this document carefully. This typically includes details about the purchase mechanism, payment methods, delivery, order cancelations and return options, as well as online advertising, email marketing and other adjacent aspects of online shopping.
All buyers should be required to demonstrate that they have read, understood and accepted the terms and conditions before making an online purchase. Typically, the buyer is required to check a box at the bottom of the terms and conditions page. You can also include a statement like the following: “By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you agree to these terms and conditions.” – This warns the buyer about the importance of the following action.
While there is no responsibility on the retailer to ensure that the consumer has in fact read the “Terms and Conditions”, he is required to bring the document to the buyer’s attention.
Protecting your customer’s privacy
Online privacy is an important issue that needs to be addressed: all e-commerce sites collect and retain personal information about customers: name, address, email address, and possibly their credit card number or other types of information. Collecting this data is essential for purchase and delivery. However, you need to comply with the requirements of the law number 677/2001. Each online store owner is responsible for protecting his customers’ privacy and to ensure that all personal data is properly collected and stored.
In Romania, the official authority in matters of online privacy is the ANSPDPC (“Autoritatea Nationala de Supraveghere a Prelucrarii Datelor cu Caracter Personal”). You will need to register with the ANSPDPC before opening up an online store. The registration is free and very fast: you need to fill up a form here: www.dataprotection.ro .All the necessary information about the security requirements for data collection and storage are up on the website as well.
These are all the steps you need to take to make sure that your online store complies with the Romanian rules and regulations. Most of these requirements are relevant all around the world, not just in Romania. However, you will need to make sure you are familiar with local e-commerce laws in order to avoid any unnecessary penalties and fines.
Best of luck in your new endeavor!