Tips for successful withdrawal

You have bought something and are not completely satisfied with your purchase? Do you want to return or exchange the purchased products? You may have a right of withdrawal and can terminate the contract. This is possible for most online purchases.
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In Germany you as a consumer have a right of withdrawal under specific prerequisites. This means that you can withdraw from a sales contract without giving a reason. Restriction: The right of withdrawal does not apply to a purchase between two private individuals.

Here we would like to answer the most important questions about the right of withdrawal.

When can I withdraw from a sales contract?

If you have bought something on the Internet or over the phone, you can withdraw from the contract (such contracts are called distance contracts). You also have a right of withdrawal for contracts that you conclude outside of shops. For example, if you ordered a coffee machine in an online shop or subscribed to a magazine outside, you can cancel the purchase.

Many people think that they can also cancel purchases made in shops. But this is not true. Retailers are not legally obliged to take back the goods and refund the purchase price.

That is why, it is always helpful to cross-check: companies often take back goods voluntarily or offer to exchange them.

How can I withdraw?

You must inform the seller of your withdrawal. You are on the safer side if you do this by sending an email and the seller confirms the withdrawal. Or if you send the withdrawal notification by registered mail. In this way you can prove that the seller has received your withdrawal notification.

What are the consequences of withdrawal?

The withdrawal renders the contract invalid and you are no longer bound by the contract. The seller must refund your money and you must return the goods. The seller does not have to return the money to you until he or she has received the goods back from you or you can prove that you have sent them.

If you have problems with a withdrawal, we at the Verbraucherzentrale will also help you with personal advice.

Who pays the shipping costs?

If you have paid shipping costs for the order, you can reclaim these costs from the seller after a withdrawal. You must pay the costs of returning the goods to the seller, unless the seller has agreed to bear these costs as well. If you have damaged the goods, you must pay money for the loss of value of the goods.

How long is the withdrawal period?

You have 14 days to cancel your order. To meet this deadline, it is sufficient to send the withdrawal letter within 14 days. It does not matter when the letter is received by the seller.

When does this period begin?

The 14-day period begins as soon as you receive the products. This is based on a prerequisite that the seller has correctly informed you about your right of withdrawal. If this cancellation policy does not contain all the necessary information, you have a longer period of one year and 14 days for the right of withdrawal.

Did you receive broken or wrong products? In such a case, the seller must repair them or send you new products. Here we explain how to do this.

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