Consumer Goods and Services
When buying goods and services anywhere in the EU you have the same consumer rights concerning:
- Contract information
- Pricing and paymeents
- VAT (Value Added Tax)
- Shipping and delivery
- Guarantees and returns
There are two institutional types of guarantees embedded in european and domestic legislation: Commercial and legal.
Simply explained, commercial guarantee is a binding statement by the manufacturer to cover possible product defects, excluding those caused due to improper use by the consumer. The duration of a commercial guarantee is freely decided by the manufacturer and it rests upon him to choose every time the means necessary and suitable to restore the product to its initial (functional) condition, be it repair or replacement. A commercial guarantee is optional for the manufacturer, who also may provide it for free or charge it to the consumer, depending on policy.
Legal guarantee, on the other hand, is mandatory by law and pertains to the responsibility of the seller (not the manufacturer) to deliver goods that are completely free of defects and, thus, in full conformity with the sale contract. Remedies (repair or replacement) come at no cost and the choice between them belongs to the consumer. Still, though, a reasonable justification why replacement is preferable to repair may be provided. Legal guarantee can also entitle the consumer to withdraw from the sale contract, as long as the defect is deemed important to such a great extent, where repair doesn’t serve its intended purpose.
Consumers have the legal right to withdraw from a sale contract (ie, return a good to the seller in order to receive their money back) within a period of 14 calendar days from the day the contract was concluded (in the case of service contracts) or from the day the products were delivered, provided that withdrawal is exercised from a distance (via phone or internet) or an off-premises contract.
The cooling off period may be extended beyond 14 days, if the trader has not met his legal obligation to provide a template withdrawal document or all necessary information to the consumer (ie. information about the terms, deadline and the procedures covering the exercise of the withdrawal right).
The direct cost of returning the goods is borne by the consumer, unless otherwise agreed with the trader. The right of withdrawal is excluded in certain cases, such as in contracts for the supply of goods that (a) are manufactured according to the consumer's specifications and are, therefore, completely individualized, (b) are not suitable for return due to hygiene reasons, (c) have an expiration date, or (d) involve sealed audio-visual recordings or sealed computer software, that are unsealed after delivery.
Withdrawal from contracts concluded with the physical presence of consumer and trader in a commercial store is possible, only if there can be proof about the trader’s liability for the delivery of goods with serious defects or with lack of agreed properties or if the right to withdrawal had been previously agreed as part of the sale contract.
More information about buying goods and services in the EU (officail website of European Union)