An online store in Germany part 1

13.10.2012 Angelika Siczek
Numerous entrepreneurs who run an online store decide to expand their business by selling on the German market. Meanwhile, without proper substantive preparation, this decision may prove to be a very costly mistake. Without it, you cannot even translate the store into German under any conditions. The law in Germany is very restrictive in this respect, and its violation occurs at the moment when websites interact according to their intended purpose, i.e. if websites or online stores located under the Polish domain, however, their content is translated into German, then websites these, as intended, affect Germany. Therefore, they are obliged to behave in accordance with German law. An additional element confirming the above impact may be, for example, the possibility of shipping to Germany.
Those shopping owners who are not prepared to enter the German market in a proper way may face an unpleasant surprise in the form of so-called Abrechnung or admonition from a competitive company that often ends in painful financial consequences.
Usually, the whole procedure takes place in a similar manner. To reduce the costs of running a business, a Polish company does not create a separate daughter company or even a branch in Germany and operates throughout the period as a Polish business entity. As a result of having a good offer and favorable prices, the business offers substantial profits from the very beginning.
Initial successes, however, draw the attention of a German competing company that sends a request to the Polish store to withdraw the disputed product from sale with Abrechnung, that is, a declaration to oblige the Polish store to cover all losses related to the sale of the contested goods and covering lawyers’ fees on the value of the dispute.
The Polish store most often questions the liability by citing the lack of knowledge about the alleged violation of the rights of the German company, refusing to sign the statement at the same time. In response, the German company submits an application to the district court in Berlin, known for the line of jurisprudence favorable for German companies, for recognizing their claims, forbidding the sale of the disputed goods and awarding the costs of proceedings.
The above-mentioned proceedings are most often issued and delivered to a Polish company. Due to the fact that she still does not want to meet the claims of a German company, she is re-directing the case to the court this time by ordering a permanent ban on the sale of goods in Germany. The Polish company withdraws the goods, while not responding to the lawsuit because it believes that in connection with the withdrawal itself, the case has been terminated.
In such a situation, the German court issues a default judgment. It should be noted that even in the event of a subsequent appeal if it is not made by a German lawyer, it will be rejected by the court. The Polish company will be charged the costs of the trial itself as well as the pre-court costs as a lost party. In the meantime, this sum is likely to grow to around 10,000 euros. After obtaining a favorable ruling, the German company recognizes them in Poland and orders that amount to the Polish bailiff.
Contrary to what might appear, such a circumstance occurs quite often, so you should consider it before you decide to expand your sales to the German market and read the materials available on the website of the Trade and Investment Promotion Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the Federal Republic of Germany.
I will tell you more about the conditions for an online store in Germany in the next article. However, you should keep in mind that it will rather be a sketch of the requirements because the rules change on average every six months and they concern matters even as trivial as the appropriate button name on the order card.

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