Cooling off

Updated: 2/8/2016

Here is some information regarding the cooling off period.
  • The consumer has the right to withdraw from a distance contract (the so-called cooling-off period), within a period of 14 days counted from the date of the delivery of the goods or from the date of the conclusion of the contract, if it concerns services.[1]
  • The trader must inform the consumer about the conditions, time limits and procedures for exercising their right to withdraw as well as providing the model withdrawal form set out in Annex I (B) of the Directive.
  • If you have failed to inform the consumer about their right to withdrawal, the cooling off period shall expire 12 months from the end of the initial withdrawal period or 14 days from the moment the consumer receives the information if provided within those 12 months.
  • This right can be exercised without any reason being given and you cannot charge the consumer any cost other than the cost for sending back the goods[2], if you have not offered to collect the goods yourself.
  • After the consumer has withdrawn from the contract, you must reimburse all payments from the consumer no later than 14 days from the date the consumer informed you of his decision to withdraw from the contract. If the contract concerns a purchase of goods, you have the right to postpone the repayment until you have received the goods back or until the consumer has supplied evidence of having sent back the goods.
  • Unless you have offered to collect the goods, the consumer has 14 days to return the goods counted from the date he informed you about his decision to withdraw from the contract.
  • The consumer is liable for any diminished value of the goods if he or she has handled the goods in excess of what is necessary to establish the nature, characteristics and functioning of the goods. However, if you have failed to provide information about the right of withdrawal, the consumer is not liable for the diminished value of the goods.

There are exceptions to the right of withdrawal, e.g. plane tickets, package travels and car rental services etc.[3]


[1] Please note, that in some situations the right of cooling off does not apply. However, this is only exceptions and concerns for instance when the consumer has expressively agreed not to have a period of cooling off or when it concerns contracts of goods which expire rapidly. Consult the extensive list in article 16 in Directive 2011/83/EU.

[2] See ECC-Net report The European Online Marketplace Consumer complaints 2010-2011, page 25, Figure 4.1 Overview per country of cooling off period and the contractual party who covers the return costs.http://www.konsumenteuropa.se/PageFiles/155676/The%20European%20Online%20Marketplace%20Consumer%20complaints%202010-2011.pdf

[3] Art. 16 DIRECTIVE 2011/83/EU, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32011L0083&rid=1