Right of withdrawal within the EU

Updated: 10/20/2016

When shopping from a store you have no right of withdrawal. However, when shopping online or from a telephone salesman, or when buying something from a trader outside of its premises, for example at a homeparty or a marketplace, you have the right to a 14 day cooling off period.

What is a distance contract?

A distance contract is an agreement that you sign without meeting the trader, for example when you shop online or from a telephone salesman.

What is a purchase outside of the premises?

For example, if you buy a vacuum cleaner from a salesman knocking on your door, or if you buy a mobile phone from a mobile company standing outside of your grocery store. If you made a purchase outside of the premises, and the total value is less than 50 euros, it is not certain that the right of withdrawal applies. The amount is specifically regulated in various countries within the EU. In Sweden the right of withdrawal does not apply if what you buy costs less than 400 SEK.

The trader has to inform you of your right of withdrawal

The trader has to inform you about your right of withdrawal before you buy a product or service. The information has to be clear, so that you understand what your rights are. When selling something from a distance, the trader can inform you either orally or via a website. If you are shopping outside of the trader's premises, the information has to be provided to you in writing, or, if you agree to it, in another readable and durable form.

In both distance contracts and contracts signed outside of the trader's premises you are entitled to an order confirmation in writing. The order confirmation should contain information about your right of withdrawal.

Right of withdrawal when signing a service agreement

With regards to service contracts it is possible to give your prior express consent, with the acknowledgement that you will lose your right of withdrawal once the contract has been fully performed by the trader. This means that the cooling off period may be shorter than 14 days if the service is fully performed within 14 days.

Under the following conditions, the trader can require payment for a service that has been partially performed, before you have exercised your right of withdrawal:

  • You have received complete information about your right of withdrawal
  • You have been informed that you might have to pay for part of the service
  • You have requested the service to begin

When does the cooling off period begin?

The time limit for your right of withdrawal is called cooling off period. It begins from the day you receive the product, provided that you have been informed about the right of withdrawal. If you buy a service, the cooling off period starts on the day you sign the contract, provided that you were informed about the right of withdrawal.

If you have not been informed about the right of withdrawal, the cooling off period starts on the day you receive the information. If the trader do not inform you at all, you have one year to exercise your right of withdrawal.

You have the right to examine the product

In order to be able to know whether or not you want a product, you have the right to examine it. But in order to be able to return it, you cannot use it. If you have used the product, the trader can claim compensation for the depreciation of the product. This is provided that the trader has informed you that a possible depreciation has to be compensated.

Let the trader know that you want to exercise you right of withdrawal

If you wants to cancel your purchase, you have to let the trader know that you wish to exercise your right of withdrawal and return the product. The trader does not have to confirm that you have done this, in order for the right of withdrawal to apply, and the product does not have to be received by the trader within 14 days. The important thing is that you return it within 14 days.

Letter templates - withdrawal from the contract

Return the product within 14 days

When cancelling a purchase, you have to return the product to the trader within 14 days. Usually you have to pay the return shipping cost, but this is something the trader must inform you about before the purchase. You can decide yourself how you want to return the product. But you should be aware of that you carry the responsibility for the product until it reaches the trader. Ask for a receipt at the post office, and save a copy of your letter as proof. You can also send registered mail, in order to be able to trace the letter.

When the right of withdrawal does not apply

There are exceptions to when the right of withdrawal does not apply. The trader has to inform you that the right of withdrawal does not apply to your purchase.

Example of products and services where the right of withdrawal does not apply

  • A sealed sound- or image recording or a sealed computer program, when the sealing has been broken by the consumer.
  • Culture events, sports events et cetera.
  • Trips and accommodations, for example flight tickets and hotel nights.
  • A service that has been fully performed, where the consumer has expressed his or her consent with the acknowledgement that his or her will lose his or her right of withdrawal once the contract has been fully performed by the trader.
  • Products that can quickly deteriorate, for example food products.
  • Newspapers or periodicals
  • Specially made products, or products with a clear personal