Written by solicitor Thomas Meier-Bading 2023-10-08 at 13:56

The right to withdraw in Germany


In the European Union, consumers can cancel online contracts within 14 days, ensuring protection from unintended financial burdens. Entrepreneurs face logistical challenges in complying with the statutory right of withdrawal, necessitating adjustments to their business practices and websites for online deals with German consumers.
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consumer protection

Other than in many countries, in the European Union consumers have the right to cancel online contracts for products and services. This legal provision, designed to safeguard consumers, allows buyers to reconsider their purchase decision. It aims to ensure that consumers maintain decision-making freedom and are protected from unintended financial burdens.

Exercising the right of withdrawal is pretty straightforward for consumers. They only need to notify the business, without specifying a particular reason, to withdraw from the contract. Typically, the period lasts for 14 days from the receipt of goods or the conclusion of a service contract.

If the withdrawal occurs during an ongoing or completed business transaction, a reverse transaction is initiated. The purchased goods are returned, and the price is refunded to the consumer.

difficulties for entrepreneurs

picture: ai, prompt: Thomas Meier-Bading

For entrepreneurs, the statutory right of withdrawal poses challenges. Dealing with returns involves a certain level of logistical complexity and may result in additional costs. However, the right of withdrawal does not cover all products and services; it is specifically applicable to online transactions. Entrepreneurs must consider these details to adapt their business practices and ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Also, the website has to be adopted to the revocation-law: revocation declaration, a sample revocation-form and other things have to be on any website that sells products or services to German consumers. If they don’t comply, the reovcation-time is one year + 14 days and there is the risk of getting a temporary injuction from a competitor that can be very expensive.

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