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FAQs on the new Europe-wide right of withdrawal as of 13.06.2014

1. As a vendor, do I have to change anything on my page with regard to the new right of withdrawal?

No. We will make the changes for you. You just have to be aware of it.

2. Will the withdrawal policy for customers change?

As a seller, Digistore24 is obligated to inform the customer about his right of withdrawal via the cancellation policy. This is done through the footer of the order form and the order confirmation, which is sent via email. This withdrawal policy will be updated in accordance with the new legal regulations of 13.06.2014.

3. Where does the new right of withdrawal apply?

The new right of withdrawal applies throughout Europe. Digistore24 has its headquarters in Germany.

4. How does the customer gain access to the legally required model withdrawal form?

Digistore24 will provide the customer with this form. If you want, you can download the form yourself here.

5. As a provider of digital products, may I let the right of withdrawal expire?

Yes. Among other things, section 312g of the German Civil Code clearly stipulates that digital goods and downloads can also be excluded from withdrawal by changing the right of withdrawal. However, the prerequisite for this is that the customer has been explicitly informed of this in advance and has expressly agreed (via checkbox) to the expiry of the right of withdrawal.

We at Digistore24 have already tested this for you. The result was a dramatic conversion drop between 20% and 50% if such a checkbox was present on the order form. If such a checkbox does not exist, the 14-day right of withdrawal applies.

Nevertheless, if you want a checkbox to cancel the right of withdrawal, you can set it up under Settings > Return policy.

6. As a vendor, may I refund money to the customer after a longer period than 14 days (e.g. 60 days?)

You can do the same as before.

7. How can I inform Digistore24 which refund regulation/guarantee policy I prefer as a vendor?

You can adjust these settings under Settings > Return policy.

8. Which major changes to the right of withdrawal affect online traders in detail?

a) Elimination of the possibility of granting a right of return instead of the right of withdrawal. No more legal right of return will be granted as of 13.06.2014. From then on there will only be a (uniform Europe-wide) right of withdrawal.

b) Reform of the statutory exemptions to the right of withdrawal. There are still wide areas from which the right of withdrawal is excluded. The new paragraph ‘Section 312g (2) sentence 1 of the new version of the German Civil Code’ contains a fully harmonized, final catalogue of the set consumer directive.

There is thus no right of withdrawal for:

  • Contracts for the supply of goods that are not pre-fabricated and the production of which is governed by an individual choice of or decision by the consumer, or that are clearly tailored to personal needs of the consumer. (Section 312g (2), sentence 1, no.1 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts for the supply of goods which are highly perishable, or which may quickly pass their expiration date (Section 312 g (2), sentence 1, no.2 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts for the supply of sealed goods which are not suitable for return due to health protection or hygiene reasons, if such goods were unsealed after delivery. (Section 312g (2), sentence 1, no.3 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts for the supply of goods which, according to their nature, are inseparably mixed, after delivery, with other items. (Section 312g (2), sentence 1, no.4 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts for the supply of alcoholic beverages, the price of which has been agreed upon at the time of the conclusion of the sales contract, the delivery of which can only take place at the earliest after thirty days following the conclusion of the sales contract, and the current value of which is dependent on fluctuations in the market which cannot be controlled by the trader. (Section 312g (2), sentence 1, no.5 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts for the supply of sealed audio or sealed video recordings or sealed computer software, if they were unsealed after delivery. (Section 312g (2), sentence 1, no.6 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts for the delivery of newspapers, periodicals or magazines with the exception of subscription contracts for the supply of such publications. (Section 312g, (2), sentence 1, no.7 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts for the supply of goods or the provision of services including the provision of financial services, whose price is dependent on fluctuations on the financial market which cannot be controlled by the trader and which may occur within the withdrawal period, including in particular services in connection with stock, with shares in open-ended investment assets within the meaning of section 1 (4) of the Capital Investment Code [Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch], and with other tradeable securities, foreign currency, derivatives or money market instruments. (Section 312g (2), sentence 1, no.8 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts for the provision of services in the fields of accommodation other than for residential purposes, transport of goods, car rental services, deliveries of food and beverages, or services related to leisure activities, if the contract provides for a specific date or period of performance. (Section 312g (2), sentence 1, no.9 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts that are concluded in the context of a method of sale where goods or services are offered by the trader to consumers, who attend or are given the possibility to attend the auction in person, through a transparent, competitive bidding procedure run by an auctioneer and where the successful bidder is obliged to purchase the goods or services (publicly accessible auction). (Section 312g (2), sentence 1, no.10 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts where the consumer has specifically requested a visit from the trader for the purpose of carrying out urgent repairs or maintenance; this shall not apply as regards additional services provided on the occasion of such visit that the consumer has not specifically requested, or as regards any goods delivered on the occasion of such visit that are not absolutely required as replacement parts in carrying out the maintenance or in making the repairs. (Section 312 g, paragraph 2, sentence 1, no.11 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts for the provision of betting and lottery services unless the consumer has made his contract declaration by telephone or the contract is an off-premises contract. (Section 312g (2) sentence 1, no.12 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

  • Contracts that are notarially recorded; this shall apply to distance contracts relating to financial services only in those cases in which the notary confirms that the rights of the consumer set out in section 312d (2) are safeguarded. (Section 312g (2) sentence 1, no.13 of the new version of the German Civil Code)

c) Withdrawal period. As of 13.06.2014, only a uniform Europe-wide withdrawal period of 14 days will apply (section 355 (2) of the new version of the German Civil Code). However, there are considerable difficulties as far as the withdrawal period and the start of the withdrawal period are concerned. I will discuss this in more detail below.

d) End of the right of withdrawal. According to the current legal situation, it is still possible that the right of withdrawal will not expire at all if, for example, the trader has not duly informed the consumer about the right of withdrawal. As of 13.06.2014, the consumer’s right of withdrawal will expire at the latest after 12 months and 14 days after the beginning of the right of withdrawal.

e) Withdrawal declaration. Up to now, the consumer can also exercise his right of withdrawal by returning unwanted goods. This has been changed. As of 13.06.2014, a consumer’s withdrawal declaration must clearly state that he is revoking his contract declaration. The mere return of goods is not sufficient, unless it has been expressly agreed upon with the consumer that this should be sufficient.

f) Form of the withdrawal declaration. The declaration of withdrawal is no longer bound to compliance with a text form. As of 13.06.2014, there is no longer any formal requirement for the withdrawal declaration. This means that as of 13.06.2014 it will also be possible for the consumer to revoke the concluded contract over the phone. This is especially significant because now, contrary to previous jurisdiction, it is mandatory to specify a telephone number in the withdrawal policy.

g) Obligation of the trader to provide a sample withdrawal form. As of 13.06.2014, the online trader is obligated to provide the consumer with a so-called sample withdrawal form. This is to offer the consumer the possibility to explain the withdrawal with the help of the form provided. In turn, the consumer does not necessarily have to make use of this declaration. However, the trader must make it available.

h) Capping of the shipping costs for the benefit of online traders. As of 13.06.2014, the online trader must reimburse the shipping costs, but the amount is capped. This means that in the future the online trader will only have to reimburse the shipping costs that have been incurred using the cheapest default shipping offered by him.

i) Return costs. As of 13.06.2014, the consumer must also bear the costs of returning the goods, irrespective of the value of those goods. The so-called €40.00 clause has thus become obsolete. In this respect, the terms and conditions must be adapted i.e. this clause must be removed without replacement. This is because as of 13.06.2014 the consumer will bear the direct costs of the return, irrespective of the price of the item returned, as long as the online trader has informed the consumer of this obligation. This obligation to bear the return costs shall not apply if the trader has offered to bear the return costs himself or if the trader has failed to inform the consumer of his obligation to bear the costs. However, if the goods cannot be packaged, the trader must inform the consumer of the sum of these return costs in the withdrawal policy.

j) Return of goods that cannot be packaged. In the future, the consumer must also return goods that cannot be packaged to the trader. Until now it was the case that these were collected from the consumer. In principle, this now means that the consumer must also send the goods to the company himself. This obligation will only not apply if it has been agreed upon with the consumer that the goods will be collected by the trader.

k) Processing of the withdrawal/reverse transaction. As of 13.06.2014, the consumer must return the received service after 14 days at the latest. However, the trader must also reimburse the purchase price within 14 days as of 13.06.2014. This must be done using the same payment method that the consumer used. However, this in turn can be expressly agreed with the consumer in a different way. Difficulties are likely to arise here, however, if you want to regulate this in a striking manner in the terms and conditions.

l) The trader’s right of retention. As of 13.06.2014, the trader can withhold the repayment of the purchase price until the consumer has returned the revoked goods or at least proved that they have been sent. This eliminates the risk that the trader “runs after” his goods. Of course, this right of retention does not apply if he himself has offered to collect the goods from the consumer.

m) Compensation. As of 13.06.2014, compensation will only be owed by the consumer for a loss in value of the goods. This means that the consumer only has to pay compensation to the trader if the loss in value of the revoked goods is due to a handling of the goods which was not necessary for checking the quality, the characteristics and functionalities of the goods and if he has been instructed accordingly in this respect by the trader in the withdrawal policy.

Updated on 19. July 2018

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