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The new eCommerce rules as of June 13, 2014

1.Right of withdrawal

The right of withdrawal is standardized across Europe. In the EU there is generally a cancellation period of 14 days and a uniform model cancellation policy. The customer must clearly exercise his right of withdrawal by clearly stating his withdrawal. Simply returning the goods without comment and without explanation is no longer equivalent to a revocation.

It is also important that the retailer can no longer grant the customer a right of return as an alternative to the right of withdrawal from June 13, 2014.

2.Cancellation form

From June 13, 2014, the cancellation form will also be standardized across the EU. According to the rules, the retailer is also obliged to provide the consumer with the cancellation form within a reasonable period of time, but at the latest upon delivery of the goods. The retailer can attach the cancellation form as a file to their order confirmation, for example together with the cancellation instructions. In order to become part of the contract, the General Terms and Conditions should be made known and confirmed during the ordering process.

3.The procedure for revocation

If the customer effectively declares the revocation of the contract or his contract declaration, the services exchanged and received must be returned. The new eCommerce rules provide a deadline of 14 days for this: The customer must return the ordered goods to the retailer within 14 days of declaring the cancellation. As long as the retailer does not receive the goods or the customer provides proof of return, the online retailer has the right to withhold the purchase price.

In any case, even without effective cancellation instructions, the consumer's right of cancellation expires after 1 year and 14 days.

4. Return shipping costs

In the event of cancellation, the consumer must bear the costs of the return. However, the prerequisite is that the dealer has informed him in advance about this obligation to bear the costs. This is regulated by law so that no separate agreement is necessary and the “40 EUR limit” no longer applies. Of course, the online retailer remains entitled to voluntarily cover the costs of the return.

In the event of cancellation, the online retailer is only obliged to cover the standard costs for sending the goods to the customer. For goods that cannot be sent as parcels, the online retailer must indicate the amount of return shipping costs in the cancellation policy.

5.Additional services and additional costs

The online retailer remains entitled to offer the customer additional services in addition to the main services. However, checkboxes with which the customer can book or purchase additional services may no longer be automatically checked. The customer must actively tick the box.

Additional costs that may affect the consumer, for example in the form of processing fees or a fee for cancellation insurance, must be expressly agreed in the future. In addition, the online retailer may not charge higher costs than the basic tariff for telephone inquiries from existing customers.

6.Means of payment

The regulations have also changed when it comes to payment methods. The dealer is no longer allowed to charge surcharges for the customer's payments by credit card or other means of payment, which he keeps for himself. Every retailer is also obliged to provide every consumer with at least one reasonable means of payment with which they can fulfill their payment obligations without surcharges.

Anwalt Gesellschaftsrecht und Handelsrecht

dr Andrelang, LL. M

Specialist lawyer for international business law

Specialist lawyer for commercial and corporate law


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