RETURN OF GOODS - WHO BEARS THE COST OF SHIPPING?
Current as of: 04.01.2023
According to the Law on Consumer Rights, buyers have the right to return goods purchased online. However, the regulations include a number of conditions that the buyer must meet in order to exercise this right. The entrepreneur must also become familiar with them. Are the rules for returning goods purchased from an online store the same for stationary stores as well? Who bears the cost of return and on whom is the obligation to pay for returning the items?
Consumer rights regarding the return of goods
As a rule, a buyer does not have the right to return goods purchased in a stationary store just because the purchased item, although it is without defects, does not suit him. The trader running such a business is therefore under no obligation in this case to take the goods back and give the consumer the money - if he chooses to do so, it is of his own free will. The procedure for returning non-defective goods in a stationary store is then determined by the store operator, there are no regulations as to the day by which the goods must be returned, and the law does not specify which of the items sold can be returned. The terms and conditions are defined in the regulations of the stationary store.
However, the situation is quite different if the contract between the seller and the buyer was concluded off-premises. In this case, we are talking not only about online shopping, but also about purchasing goods over the phone or at various shows. Buyer protections under the Consumer Rights Act of May 30, 2014 grant the buyer the right to withdraw from an online contract within 14 days of entering into the agreement.
Rules for returning goods purchased online
Importantly, the return of goods in an online store does not always have to be accepted by the trader. This is the case, for example, when the object of the transaction was made to the customer's order. In the case of personalized products, manufactured to the consumer's specifications (for example, tailor-made clothes), the right of withdrawal does not apply, even if the item has not been used and is still in its original packaging. It is also not possible to return goods that have a short shelf life and are perishable or those that should not be returned for hygienic or health reasons. The right of withdrawal also does not apply to sealed multimedia.
If a buyer is willing and able to return goods bought online, he or she submits a rescission statement to the trader. The cost of shipping the order from the store to the customer must be given back by the seller. Note, however, that the postage price for simply returning the goods to the store is already borne by the buyer, as long as he is informed in advance of the return costs. In some situations, however, it is the entrepreneur who must take care of the transportation of the returned product. This is the case, for example, when the transaction item is very large in size or requires complex, multi-stage disassembly and was purchased off-premises and delivered to the buyer's residence.
Return of goods purchased online - what does an entrepreneur need to remember?
Online store owners need to be aware of their obligations under the properties of certain laws protecting consumers. It is imperative that they remember, for example, to inform the buyer of his right to withdraw from a contract concluded online without giving a reason. If they fail to do so, the right to return the goods will not expire until 12 months after the end of the basic 14-day return period.
If the package has been opened, the returned goods must be intact. However, if the customer used the item, the trader may charge the customer for the costs associated with the diminished value of the goods. However, the shopkeeper must remember to inform the buyer about the possibility of withdrawal from the contract and how he can do it - otherwise he will lose the right to enforce the cost of doing so.