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Right of withdrawal

Can I as consumer reconsider the purchase and withdraw from it after receiving the product I ordered via internet?

Yes, the Government Decree 45/2014 on the detailed rules of contracts concluded between consumers and businesses ensures that the consumers assert the right of withdrawal (right to return the product, return guarantee, cooling-off period) in case of online shopping, and we - apart from few special cases - can always exercise it.

What is the right to withdrawal?

The right of withdrawal means that we are allowed to unilaterally withdraw from the contract concluded via internet, and by sending the product back to the trader we are entitled to get the paid amount reimbursed. The right of withdrawal is a compensating tool for not being able to physically check and try the product before purchasing it and we could rely only on the information unilaterally defined by the trader before the purchase.

Can I exercise the right to withdrawal when I purchase a product from abroad?

Yes, if we purchased the product from any Member State of the European Union due to the harmonization of laws we are also entitled to this right. It is important to know that the Directive 2011/83/EU on consumer rights was adopted in 2011, and one of its most significant new rules that it extended the right of withdrawal for consumers from 7 working days to 14 calendar days. In accordance with that the above-mentioned Government Decree 45/2014 (II.26.) also provides 14-day withdrawal period for the consumers.

Do I have to give reason for the withdrawal?

No, we do not. The right of withdrawal allows us to withdraw from a contract without explanations. We can withdraw from any contract even if the product is exactly what we ordered, perfectly working, suitable for normal use, or we simply just do not like it. Still in most cases consumers withdraw from a certain contract when the product does not match the previous description or the consumers’ expectations. It is an important legal guarantee that this right can not be subject to any conditions.

What is the starting point from which I can exercise the right of withdrawal?

In case of a certain product (books, electronic equipments) the period for exercising the right of withdrawal starts from the time we physically receive the product. Where goods are delivered in multiple lots or pieces, the withdrawal period shall expire after 14 days from the day on which the consumer received the last piece. In case of a service (eg.: advertisement placement on the internet or cable TV service ordered via internet) the right of withdrawal starts after the two parties concluded into a contract.

What is the duration of the right to withdrawal?

For fourteen calendar days after physically receiving the product or concluding a service contract we can withdraw from the contract. The 14 calendar days are generally excluding the delivery day or in case of a service the day of the contract conclusion.

Let us see an example: We receive the product on Thursday the 14 calendar days period starts on Friday. Saturday and Sunday also count since those days are calendar days. So the 14-day withdrawal period expires 2 weeks later on Tuesday at 24:00

Certainly we can withdraw from the contract any time within 14 calendar days, but as a sign of respect and good faith once we received, checked, tried and found the product properly usable – in the light of the principle of cooperation – we should decide immediately whether we want it or not. If we do not act in accordance with this requirement we are liable for any diminished value.

Can the period of the cancellation right be prolonged?

Yes, under certain circumstances. If the trader has not provided the consumer with the information on the right of withdrawal, its conditions and the possibility of using withdrawal form as required by the Government Decree, the withdrawal period shall expire 12 months from the end of the initial withdrawal period. If the trader has provided the consumer with the above-mentioned information within 12 months after the 14-day cancellation period, the 14-day withdrawal period shall start from the day the consumer receives the information.

Does the returned product have to arrive within the 14-working-day time limit to the trader?

The consumer should be required to send back the product without delay, but not later than 14 days after having informed the trader about his decision to withdraw from the contract. However, the product does not have to arrive to the supplier within this time period. We just have to express our intention on withdrawing from the contract within 14 calendar days.

How can I prove the date of acceptance of the product?

The receipt (invoice) of the products should contain the date and the time of the implementation. According to this document we can prove the exact date of the product acceptance to the trader. We have to be very careful when we take over the product, since the performance date on the invoice might be divergent from the actual date of the acceptance by a few days and thus the 14 calendar days long time period might be shorter. Unfortunately, the smaller web stores in several cases do not even provide an invoice attached to the product. It is recommended to ask for a copy of the acknowledgement of the receipt or having the actual date of the delivery written on the invoice by the delivery or mail person.

Can I try and use the product during the cooling-off period?

Of course, we can, since this is the entire purpose of this period, during this 8-working-day cooling-off period we can make sure weather the product can be used properly and matches our expectations or not. Opening the package does not mean the loss of our right (except when we purchase sealed goods which are not suitable for return due to health protection or hygiene reasons, sealed audio or video recordings or sealed computer software). As we mentioned it earlier, as soon as we decided that the product does not match our expectations we should not use it any longer for preserving its original condition when we return it to the trader. It is important because we are liable for any diminished value of the goods resulting from the handling other than what is necessary to establish the nature, characteristics and functioning of the goods. It is good to know that we are not liable for diminished value of the goods where the trader has failed to provide information about this obligation.

How should I inform the trader about my intention of the withdrawal?

We can inform the trader by phone, mail (in registered letter) e-mail, or via withdrawal form provided by the Annex 2. of the Government Decree even if he/she excludes one of these channels of withdrawal in the general contract terms published on the website. If the trader enables us to notify him about our will to cancel the contract via online (e.g. online complaint form) the trader has to provide the consumer with a confirmation on a durable medium (e.g. via e-mail) without delay. For the sake of the later provability it is practical to notify the trader about the intention of withdrawal from the contract by sending an e-mail to the address indicated on the website. However, if the trader has an official shop or a consumer service centre we can hand over the declaration of withdrawal in person and have its receipt officially acknowledged by the seller. In our declaration of withdrawal it is recommended to refer to the execution of the right of withdrawal (and not e.g. guarantee rights in connection with defective performance) laid down in the legislation in force, where no reason shall be provided and also applicable in case of electronic commerce.

In case of withdrawal when should I return the product to the trader by mail or in person?

Unless the trader has offered to collect the product himself, we have to send back the product or hand them over to the trader or to a person authorised by the trader to receive the goods without undue delay, but not later than 14 days from the day on which we communicated our decision to withdraw from the contract to the trader. The deadline shall be met if the consumer sends back the product before the period of 14 days has expired. It is important to know that in case of doubt it is the consumer who has to prove that he exercised his right of withdrawal within this time limit.

Is the trader allowed to require the original packaging and documents (invoice) in case of withdrawal?

No, the trader may not require such conditions for accepting our right of withdrawal, however it is recommended to open the packaging carefully and retain it together with the invoice and any additional documents (e.g. guarantee sheet) until the end of the cooling-off period.

What are the consequences of exercising the right of withdrawal?

The withdrawal abolishes the contract retrospectively to the day of the conclusion of the contract and such a situation has to be created as if the consumer had not ordered the product in the online shop. It also means that the consumer must return the product on his/her own expense to the trader unless the trader has agreed to bear them, and the trader has to reimburse all payments received from the consumer, including the costs of delivery without undue delay, but not later than 14 days from the day on which he was informed of the consumer’s decision to withdraw from the contract. The trader is not required to reimburse the supplementary delivery costs, if the consumer has expressly opted for a type of delivery other than the least expensive type of standard delivery (e.g. express delivery) offered by the trader.

How should the trader reimburse all payments to the consumer?

The trader has to carry out the reimbursement using the same means of payment as the consumer used for the initial transaction, unless the consumer has expressly agreed otherwise and provided that no furher fee incurs at the consumer’s side as a result of such reimbursement. It is good to know that trader is not allowed to charge consumer any fee for using of a given means of payment.

What expenses shall the consumer pay when withdrawing from the contract?

The referred regulation in connection with the withdrawal from the contract prescribes that the consumer shall only cover the return costs of the product to the trader unless the trader has agreed to bear them; consequently we can not send the product via cash on delivery. The trader is not allowed to impose fine on the consumer or require any fees or charges for the withdrawal. In relation to it the consumer cannot be burdened with fee of the free delivery of the product later. During the cooling-off period the trader may claim money for compensating the potential depreciation of the product (scratches) which may occur from normal use, except for if the trader did not inform the consumer about this obligation. However, if the product was used abnormally the trader may require compensation for the depreciation, damage or defect of the product.

It’s worth to know that we are not obliged to pay the costs of return if the trader has not complied with the information requirements on the costs of returning the product before the conclusion of the contract and the trader has not agreed to bear them and in case when the product cannot be sent back by mail.

What is the right of withholding?

In case of purchase of product when the consumer exercise his right of withdrawal the trader may withhold the reimbursement until he has received the product back, or until the consumer has supplied evidence of having sent back the goods. So, it is advised to send the copy of the evidence to the trader without delay in order to enable the trader to reimburse the payments as quickly as possible.

When is the trader not entitled to exercise the right of withholding?

The trader is not entitled to withhold the reimbursement if the trader has offered to collect the product himself.

Does consumer have the right of withdrawal from the contract in every online transaction?

No, since the regulation lists all types of cases when we can not change our mind after receiving the product or concluding the contract. We have to be aware of the cases when we can not assert the right to withdrawal in order to consider it before making a purchase decision.

Is the online trader allowed to determine different contractual condition which is more disadvantageous to consumer as it is set by law?

No, since only more advantageous divergence from the rules of the regulation can be realized, e.g. by ensuring a longer (more than 14 calendar days) cooling-off period.

In addition, the trader may also offer the right to withdrawal concerning a product where the law excludes the withdrawal from the contract.

What is the status of the loan contract in case of withdrawal from the contract?

In accordance with the Art. 22 (1) of the Act CLXII of 2009 on the consumer loan when the consumer withdraws from the contract related to the sale of a product or provision of a service the associated loan contract is terminated. Consequently, the declaration of the withdrawal from the contract – in line with the directive 2011/83 – made within 14 calendar days terminates not only the distance contract, but also the associated loan contract. It is important to mention that the consumer is not obliged to reimburse the costs which may occur at the trader’s side due to termination of the associated loan contract.

Is it recommended to notify the bank about the withdrawal?

Yes, the special notification of the bank may accelerate the restoration of the status existing prior to the contract, and may contribute to avoid the potential legal disputes.

What is the right of termination?

If we request the performance of the service contract before the end of the withdrawal period by making this request expressly after placing the order and the performance begins, the consumer consumer loses his right of withdrawal but he is entitled to exercise the right of termination. In this case the we are entitled to get back the proportional part of the amount paid depending on the value of the fulfilled service.