E – Commerce

February 28, 2024

Your main rights when shopping online

1. The right to clear information

Wherever you buy a product or service in the EU the trader must provide you with clear, correct and understandable information about the product or service before you make the purchase.

This contract information should include:

  • the main product characteristics
  • the total price inclusive of taxes and all charges
  • delivery costs, (if applicable) – and any other additional charges
  • arrangements for payment, delivery or performance
  • the trader’s identity, address and telephone number
  • the duration of the contract (if applicable)

Some of this information may not have to be provided explicitly, if it is apparent from the context – such as the characteristics of a product which are displayed on a shelf in the shop.

Moreover, if you buy online, by telephone, by mail order catalogue or from a door-to-door salesperson, the following more detailed information must also be provided before you make a purchase:

  • e-mail address of the trader
  • any delivery restrictions in certain countries
  • the right to cancel your order within 14 days
  • available after-sales services
  • dispute resolution mechanisms
  • trade register number of the trader
  • professional title and VAT details of the trader (if applicable)
  • professional association to which the trader belongs (if applicable)

2. The right to change your mind

When you shop online you have the right to a “cooling-off” period of 14 calendar days where you can withdraw from the contract and return your purchases to the seller. You do not have to give any reason but bear in mind you may have to pay for the cost of returning the goods.

Please note however that some purchases are not covered by the cooling-off period – for instance, hotel bookings, car rental, travel tickets and other leisure services (if the contract applies to a specific date or period of performance) are specifically excluded from this provision.

Other exceptions include:

  • Goods which are made to your specifications or which are clearly personalised
  • Audio or video recordings or computer software which has been unsealed by the consumer e.g. DVDs, software installation CDs which have the seal removed
  • Services that have already begun, with the consumer’s agreement, before the end of the 14-working day period
  • Goods which are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly e.g. perishable goods
  • Gaming and lottery services
  • Goods or services the price of which is dependent on fluctuations in the financial market which cannot be controlled by the supplier

Where a consumer exercises their right of withdrawal, the trader is obliged to refund them within 14 days.

3. The express right to refund for delayed or non-delivery

Your purchase should be delivered within 30 days unless you agree otherwise with the seller.

If the trader does not deliver the item(s) within the period of time agreed, the consumer may contact the trader and ask that the goods be delivered at a later, convenient date which is appropriate to the circumstances. If the trader fails to deliver the item(s) within this additional period, the consumer is then entitled to cancel the contract.

However, the consumer may cancel the contract after the 30-day period has expired if delivery during such period was essential, taking into account all the circumstances of the case (e.g. if a wedding dress was ordered but did not arrive in time for the wedding). This is also the case if the consumer had informed the trader, at the time of entering into the contract, that delivery by or on a specified date was essential. The consumer is also entitled to cancel the contract if the trader has stated unequivocally that it cannot or will not deliver the goods.

Where the contract is cancelled, the trader is obliged to refund the consumer any and all sums that have been paid under the contract. This refund must be provided within 14 days.

Read more about your rights in Consumer Rights Directive