Shopping by mouse click
EU law protects you when you shop online in Europe.
Information you need before you buy
Before buying anything online, you are entitled to receive clear, accurate and intelligible information - for example, about a product's key features, price, delivery charges, payment terms and details concerning delivery and service, the seller's identity, whether or not you have a cancellation right and, if a contract is involved, the minimum contract term. This applies to all online traders registered within the EU, but NOT for shopping at online auctions portals such as eBay. Your best bet is to check where the seller is registered before you purchase anything - an Internet address ending in ".eu", ".de", ".at" etc. is NO guarantee for an EU-based or registered seller!
Right to return
Within the EU, you have the right to cancel an online purchase within (a minimum of) 7 working days after receipt of goods. From June 2014, this will be increased to 14 days. Within this time period, you can cancel your order for any reason whatsoever, and the seller is obliged to provide a full refund within 30 days.
Rectification, replacement, refund
When you purchase from an online trader within the EU, you have a two-year (minimum) right to demand free-of-charge rectification or replacement, if the purchased item turns out to be faulty or not as advertised. Should rectification or replacement not be possible, you have a right to a full refund. And if the goods ordered don't arrive? Goods ordered online must be delivered within 30 days. Should the item ordered and paid for by you not be available, the seller is obliged to notify you within 30 days and refund your money.
What to do in case of problems
If you feel that your online rights have been violated, or if you were defrauded by an online seller, you have several options:
- Contact the service provider / seller directly
- Contact the national regulator (for internet service providers); in Germany, the Bundesnetzagentur
- Contact the "Verbraucherzentrale" (the Consumer Advice Centre), which has offices in all 16 Federal States, offering advice and information in matters of consumer protection. They also help with legal problems.
- Go to court