The directive is a minimum directive. That means that all EU countries need to have at least the level of protection stated in the directive, but they can implement an even better consumer protection.
A distance contract is defined as a contract where the consumer and the trader do not meet in person. In order for the law to apply, the trader must be organized in a way that allows agreements to be concluded at a distance. Examples of distance contracts are online purchases, telephone sales, mail order and TV shopping.
The directive does not apply to distance contracts relating to:
- insurance, credits and other financial services
- constructing and sale of immovable property
Information on the website
The following information must be available on a website that sells products and services to consumers:
- the name and address of the trader
- the main characteristics of the product or service
- the price, including taxes and fees, of the product or service
- the delivery costs
- the different payment methods and information on delivery
- information on the cooling off period
- cost of using the means of distance communication, when they are not calculated at the basic rate
- for how long the offer is valid
- where applicable, the minimum duration of the contract
The information should be easy to find on the website. Should you not find it, maybe it is better to choose another e-trader.
Information after the purchase
The trader should always provide you with information about
- the cooling off period
- how the cooling off period is counted
- what to do if you want to cancel the purchase
- what happens after you have cancelled the purchase
- who to contact if you want to cancel the purchase
- warranties and service
- the conditions to cancel the agreement if it is indefinite or exceeds one year
The information should be given to you as soon as the contract has been concluded or at the latest upon delivery even if it occurred at an earlier time.
The information should be given to you in a document that you can save. It is up to the trader to prove that you have received the information.
The trader must deliver the product, or if it is a service, finish the job, within 30 days from the date you placed your order. It is possible to agree on another reasonable time limit for the delivery.
If the trader fails to deliver on time and this does not depend on you, you have the right to cancel the agreement. If you cancel the agreement, the trader has to give you a refund. This should be done as soon as possible, but not later than 30 days from the day on which he received your notice of cancellation.
Cooling off period
If you are shopping online from an e-trader within the EU, you have the right to a cooling off period, (with some exceptions).
For how long is the cooling off period valid?
The cooling off period is always at least, 7 working days, but since the EU and EEA countries have the possibility to implement a better consumer protection than the distance contracts directive, there are different time limits in the different countries. How long the cooling off period is in your case depends on which country’s law applies to your contract.
Unless otherwise agreed, the basic rule is that it is the law of the the trader’s country that applies. However, if the website is clearly targeted against Sweden, with for example, Swedish text and pricing in Swedish currency, Swedish law may apply.
When does the cooling off period start?
The cooling off period starts:
- the day you received the product or a substantial part of it
- the day the agreement of a service is concluded
If the trader has not informed you about the cooling off period, your cooling off period is prolonged. In the table above, you can see what applies in each country within the EU and EEA.
How do you cancel your purchase?
Return the product and let the e-trader know that you want to cancel the purchase. Do this in writing.
ECC Sweden has a letter template in English that you can use. The letter template is on the right side of this page.
What happens after you have cancelled your purchase?
The trader should, if you have exercised your right to cancel the purchase, give you a refund as soon as possible, but within 30 days at the latest. Depending on which country you have purchased from, you may have to pay the return shipping costs.
Exceptions to the right of withdrawal
For distance contracts, you have no right of withdrawal if
- the service has begun during the cooling off period, with your consent
- the price is dependent on financial market, (for example a stock)
- the product, due to its nature, cannot be returned
- the sealing, (including technical sealing), has been broken on audio or video recordings or on computer programs
- the contract regards newspaper subscriptions and single magazines
- the contract regards betting and other lottery services
- you have bought food, beverages or other goods intended for everyday consumption, and if the goods are delivered to your house or to your work, and the trader normally delivers the goods via a distribution system.
or if the contract concerns
- serving, catering or similar service
- cultural events, sports events or another similar leisure activity, if the trader undertakes to provide the service on a specific day or during a specific period.