Selling items and French controles

A person on a local forum posted the following:-

"I have been selling my home made glass jewelry at various events and on the markets. I am registered as an auto-entrepreneur, have my carte ambulante and my insurance.

This is fortunate as I was recently subject to a ‘controle’. Two innocuous-looking women, one with a notepad, appeared and would have said nothing if I hadn’t asked what they were doing. They were checking that my prices were clearly marked (they were) and checking that my prices weren’t too high – in this climate, they’ve got to be joking. I’ve seen tough experienced market stall holders in tears.

Following this they did a controle on my website. Oh ***. My original intention had been to have an English site and a separate site for French as I know people don’t want to plough through loads of stuff in another language, then life and the universe intervened and I never got round to it. I received a very formal letter telling me I was liable to a 750€ fine for not having my site in French (some of it was but not much.) Needless to say I have completely revamped my site but do I even have to translate my blog? The mind boggles.

I understand these people have the right to enter your homes if they think they need to, so be warned by my experience and check your own situations."

As someone who is about to start a new business with a website to match, aimed squarely at English speakers, I am a little concerned!

I don't know who would have responsibility to police retail outfits but I have never heard of the mentioned criteria being checked! My local supermarket is not that good at clear pricing but who, apart from a customer, has the right to decide if what you are selling is too expensive, particularly if the checker has no idea of the cost of raw materials or how much labour is involved! I'm sure the owner of a Monet would be very miffed if he could only sell it based on the cost of the canvas, paint & frame!

The dual language website law also got me. I can access a website set up anywhere in the world but it won't necessarily be in my language. Likewise anyone from anywhere can access mine. If I am trying to sell to the French then to have a site in French would be good business. But must a website from a French based retailer be in French by law? My website is hosted in Holland.

Nope, but the French law (and no doubt the laws of a lot of other countries) oblige you just to give the client a extremely clear choice between the French and whatever maternal language of the owner. This includes a translated copy of the terms of trade. Just check the local consumer rights... Good to know perhaps; if there's an dispute with a French client and you've not catered the French obligations, you'l lose...