Is ordering legal | Story from the Wine Shop page

Is ordering legal

How does the decision of the European Court of Justice and the Supreme Court in the so-called Alkotaxi case affect the ordering of alcohol from a liquor store.

Most newspapers are reporting this decision incorrectly, as if the EU Court's decision had given Finland the power to ban the sale of alcohol over the internet.

However, this is a completely wrong interpretation - in fact, the decision explicitly stated that such restrictions are contrary to the EU's fundamental rule on the free movement of goods.

Instead, the Finnish authorities have clearly stated in their submissions to the EU Court of Justice that it is perfectly permissible to buy alcohol from abroad if the customer arranges for separate transport from the seller - this is the case with

In other words, the legality of the practice has now been confirmed by the Finnish authorities, also before the EU Court of Justice. also won a victory against Customs in 2010 when the Helsinki Magistrate Court ruled that was not engaged in distance selling and that its practice of separating transport from sales was legal.

You can read about the decision and the comments of the Prosecutor General in Uusi Suomi magazine, among others - click here.

So business will continue as usual and the goods will be moved easily by the carrier of the customer's choice.

Now the Valvira working group has published its report and clearly defined what constitutes legal distance selling (i.e. selling where the buyer arranges the transport):

You can read the report in full at this link (opens the pdif file) - click here

On page 10 of the Working Party's report, the following guidelines on the organisation of transport by the buyer are placed at the top (quote):

"An example of an apparent mandate is where the buyer is not offered the actual possibility to collect the purchased goods from the seller or to choose the carrier on the seller's website, but is only limited to the options pre-selected on the website. There is also a situation of apparent authorisation where the seller's website automatically calculates the price of the products to be purchased and the more products the buyer orders, the lower the price of the transport. A further characteristic of a purported mandate is that the buyer does not have the possibility to negotiate the content and conditions of the transport contract, but the conditions of transport of the products purchased online are based on the standard terms offered by the seller to the buyer."

i.e. the seller:

1. May offer transport options from which the buyer can choose the one he genuinely prefers

2. The buyer must genuinely be able to collect the products from the seller's warehouse

3. The buyer must be able to negotiate and agree the terms of the contract with the carrier himself

4. The seller cannot determine the delivery conditions on behalf of the carrier

All these 4 conditions are met by and have been confirmed by the Helsinki District Court earlier in 2010.

Now it has also been confirmed by a working group set up by the State.

What makes this statement particularly interesting is the fact that Kari Paaso, the chairman of the working group, had been called as a witness during the 2010 trial (Helsinki District Court decision R 09/5991) in which won - several officials made parallel statements (under oath), which were summarised by the court in the following words (quotation from the court decision with reasons):

"they have testified in unison that the seller may participate in arranging transportation if the buyer has a choice in arranging transportation ... The ownership of the alcoholic beverages must be transferred abroad, in which case the buyer imports the beverages himself ... In the case of authorised imports of alcohol, the transport contract must be concluded between the buyer and the transport company by means of a separate contract. Where the buyer arranges the transport himself, the transaction is deemed to take place abroad. Paaso has clarified that the seller can participate in the transport arrangements by passing on information about the goods purchased to the transport company."