Accessible online stores become mandatory

You must make your online store barrier-free by 28.06.2025 due to the Barrier-Free Strengthening Act (BFSG).

Accessibility of products and services

This law covers the accessibility of products and services, i.e. all areas of life in which people with disabilities should be involved. The purpose of the law is in particular to strengthen the right of people with disabilities to participate in society.

§ Section 1 para. 2 and 3 of the BFSG lists the products (para. 2) and services (para. 3) to which the Act applies.

Online trading includes

§ Section 1 (3) no. 5 of the BFSG also states that it also applies to e-commerce services. According to the explanatory memorandum in the government draft, the accessibility requirements for e-commerce services apply to the online sale of any product or service.

In addition, according to para. 2, computers, notebooks, tablets, certain types of self-service terminals as well as televisions and e-book readers are included as products. 

According to para. 3, services also include telephone and messenger services, supra-regional passenger transport services offered in apps and banking services.

When are products and services accessible?

The regulation that states when products and services are barrier-free is Section 3 (1) sentence 2 BFSG. According to this provision, products and services are barrier-free if they can be found, accessed and used by people with disabilities in the usual way, without any particular difficulty and generally without assistance.

This accessibility obligation is specified for service providers in Section 14 BFSG, which states that the requirements pursuant to Section 3 (2) BFSG and the necessary mandatory information pursuant to Annex 3 No. 1 must be made available.

Annex 3 No. 1 in wording:

"The service provider shall provide the service within the meaning of § 1 paragraph 3 in its general terms and conditions or in another clearly perceptible manner, how it fulfills the accessibility requirements of the accessibility regulations pursuant to § 3 paragraph 2 to be issued in accordance with Section 3 (2). The relevant information shall include a description of the applicable requirements and, where relevant for the assessment, cover the design and implementation of the service. In addition to the requirements for consumer information in accordance with Article 246 of the Introductory Act to the Civil Code the information shall in any case contain the following elements, where applicable:

a) a general description of the service in an accessible format;

b)Descriptions and explanations necessary for understanding the performance of the service;

c) a description of how the service fulfills the relevant requirements in § 3 paragraph 2 to be issued in accordance with Section 3 (2);

d) the name of the competent market surveillance authority''.

How is accessibility achieved?

As the definition in Section 3 (2) BFSG does not specify how accessibility is to be achieved, the government draft specifies this in more detail. According to this, people with disabilities should have free access to the information they need, which in the case of products can be ensured, for example, through safety information or instructions for use, and in the case of services through the provision of information on how the service works.

These requirements are to be further specified in a draft regulation by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. In particular, additional requirements will be set for electronic business transactions.

Although the draft regulation has not yet been finally adopted, the accessibility of your own website or online store should be addressed at an early stage.

Non-compliance can result in various sanctions such as the discontinuation of the offer or provision of a service or fines of up to €100,000.00.

If there are any uncertainties or questions regarding implementation, expert advice should be sought.