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In the EU a consumer has a right of withdrawal for purchases made at a distance and outside a physical shop. The right of withdrawal is a minimum period of 14 days during which the consumer can cancel an online purchase, even if they have already paid. It is allowed to offer a longer period but never a shorter one. A webshop must also inform the consumer of the existence of the right to withdraw, or in some particular cases of the absence of a right to withdrawal. That 14 day period is extended by one year if the consumer has not been informed of the right of withdrawal by the seller. The consumer should also be informed about the conditions, period, and modalities for exercising their right of withdrawal.  They should also be provided with an EU model withdrawal form.

There is no right to withdrawal in the following cases

  • The purchased goods are custom-ordered or personalized items;
  • The goods spoil or perish quickly;
  • DVD or software that has been unsealed after delivery;
  • Goods that cannot be returned for reasons of hygiene or health protection, and which have been unsealed after delivery.

And there are also some exceptions for

  • Services related to leisure activities if the contract includes a specific date or period of execution (concert tickets, plane tickets, etc);
  • Car rental;
  • Accommodation rental;
  • Transport of goods.

In some cases, the seller can also expressly ask the consumer to give up their right of withdrawal so that services can begin before the expiry of the 14-day period. Examples of those cases are:

  • The purchase of downloadable software;
  • A subscription where the consumer gets immediate access to the service.
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Dr. Mathieu Paapst LLM cipm

Dr. Mathieu Paapst LLM cipm

Expert IT and Privacy Law

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