What do you need to know when you buy a product online and want to return it?
It happens very often that we purchase products or services online and then find that it is different from the product/service we expected, or we simply don’t want them anymore. In this context, we explain your legal rights and obligations, both as a customer and as a trader.
In accordance with Article 6 para. (1)(h) of GEO 34/2014 on consumer rights in contracts concluded with professionals, which transposes into national law Directive 2011/83/EU on consumer rights, the information that the trader must provide in a clear and accessible manner to the consumer before the conclusion of a distance contract includes the right of withdrawal, the conditions, time limits, the procedure for exercising this right and the standard withdrawal form.
According to these provisions, the right of withdrawal is the possibility for the consumer to terminate the distance contract within 14 days without giving any reason and without incurring any costs other than those incurred for the return of the product.
The withdrawal period of 14 days should begin in the case of sales contracts from the day the consumer or a third party indicated by the consumer takes physical possession of the products delivered or of the final product if they were produced separately. In the case of contracts for the provision of services, the 14-day period shall expire from the date of the conclusion of the contract.
According to the legal requirements, the contract is terminated when the withdrawal request is sent to the trader.
Moreover, according to Article 10 of GEO 34/2014, where the trader still needs to inform the consumer of his right of withdrawal, the withdrawal period expires 12 months after the initial 14-day withdrawal period ends. Where the seller has communicated to the consumer his right of withdrawal within 12 months from the date the consumer took physical possession of the goods or the closure of the service contract, the withdrawal period expires 14 days from the date on which the consumer received that information.
The consumer exercises his right of withdrawal in time if he sends the seller the notice withdrawing from the contract within 14 calendar days. For this purpose, the consumer may use the model withdrawal form provided by the trader or make another unequivocal statement expressing his wish to withdraw from the contract.
The trader may also offer the consumer the option of electronically submitting the withdrawal form or declaration on the shop’s website. In the latter case, the trader must provide the consumer with confirmation of receipt of the withdrawal form.
Following the termination of the distance contract, the trader is obliged to reimburse the amount paid by the customer by 14 days after being informed of the consumer’s decision to withdraw from the contract. The refund will be made by the same method of payment as that chosen by the consumer for the initial payment.
As regards the consumer’s obligation, the consumer must return the goods ordered within 14 days from the date on which he notified the trader of the decision to withdraw from the contract. It is essential to note the consumer’s obligation to compensate for any diminished value of the goods resulting from their handling or use to the extent that is more than necessary to establish the goods’ nature, characteristics, and functioning.
However, if there has been no information to the consumer about the right of withdrawal under Art. 6 para. (1)(h) of GEO 34/2014, the consumer can withdraw from the contract after a long time in which he has used the good without being held liable for the wear and tear caused.