Internet shopping in Austria

Shop online for children's toys, food supplements, cosmetics and more

As in many other countries around the world, online shopping is also on the rise in Austria. Shopping platforms from the USA and China are booming in Europe, especially for everyday products. This is particularly noticeable for children's toys, food supplements and cosmetic products, as they are bought regularly and shopping via smartphone can be more convenient. Over the past 20 years, the proportion of online shoppers in the Austrian population has increased from less than 10 per cent to over 60 per cent, and the volume of online spending on online retail and mail order has risen to over EUR 10 billion per year.

In addition to data protection issues, online shopping also harbours risks in terms of safety, be it due to counterfeit or inferior products or a lack of labelling or product information. In order to meet these challenges and ensure a high level of consumer protection, online trading is subject to legal requirements and official monitoring, just like regular bricks-and-mortar retail.

Foundation of the Federal Office of Consumer Health and AGES Internet Unit

The BAVG is responsible for the official control of goods that are subject to the Austrian Food and Consumer Protection Act (LMSVG) - such as children's toys, food supplements, cosmetics, etc. - and are offered for sale in Austria via the internet or other distance selling channels by foreign webshops. - and are offered for sale in Austria via the Internet or other distance selling channels by foreign webshops. This activity includes the official control of all internet providers from EU contracting states, EEA states or third countries.

In order to utilise synergies, both the BAVG and the AGES Internet Unit became operational on 1 January 2022. The AGES Internet Unit makes a significant contribution in supporting the BAVG in the context of official "internet control", including online searches, technical framework conditions and sampling. In contrast to the responsibility of the BAVG, the official control competence for online trade by Austrian providers remains with the competent provincial authority (provincial governor).

Consumer protection for online purchases in foreign web shops

In order to ensure official controls in the sense of consumer protection, even in the difficult-to-control foreign online trade, the BAVG places a strategic focus on the continuous expansion of official controls in distance selling. The actions taken are based on the following three pillars:

  • Development and establishment of a national and European network,
  • Realisation of national or European priority actions and
  • Following up on complaints received from consumers.
This page has been translated using translation software. In case of doubt, the German version of this website shall apply.