Since 1 February 2001, the “Distance Buying” Act has been in force. This law has given consumers a better legal position. According to the law, there is distance buying when the consumer and the seller have not seen each other during the purchase. The following important extensions with regard to consumer rights have been included in the Distance Selling Act:
• Consumers are entitled to a cooling-off period of 14 working days after delivery of the product. They may return a product within that period, only having to pay the postage for the return. The seller may then not charge any shipping or handling costs. The seller may, however, attach conditions to the return. When the seller has financed the product, for example by providing a loan, the financing agreement is automatically dissolved if the consumer makes use of the cooling-off period. • The product must be delivered to the consumer no later than 30 days after ordering. If this does not happen, the consumer can immediately cancel the purchase. This does not apply if the parties have agreed on a different delivery period. • If the consumer returns the product within the cooling-off period, the seller is obliged to refund the amount paid within 14 days.
The cooling-off period does not apply to:
• Purchase of real estate; • Purchases made to order; • Purchases that can spoil or become obsolete quickly; • Newspapers and magazines; • CDs, videos and CD-ROMs of which the seal has been broken; • Financial services, betting and lotteries; • Accommodation, transport, restaurant reservations and leisure activities if these have been agreed on a specific date or for a specific period; • A service that the seller has started with the consumer’s consent before the cooling-off period has expired.
The additional obligations of the selling party are:
• The selling party must provide the following information before consumers make a purchase: ◦ His identity and, in case of (partial) payment in advance, his postal address; ◦ The main characteristics of the product; ◦ The price of the product (including all taxes). If applicable, the costs of delivery, method of payment, delivery or performance, whether or not the cooling-off period applies; ◦ Any period of validity of the offer or the minimum duration of the agreement if it concerns, for example, the purchase of a subscription. The supplier must also provide the following information at the latest upon delivery: ◦ The requirements for using the cooling-off period (this must be done in writing!); ◦ The visiting or collection address of the supplier; ◦ Information about any warranty if the purchase has a duration of more than one year; ◦ The requirements and conditions for cancellation.
If the supplier has not (completely) provided the above information to the consumer, the cooling-off period of 7 working days will not commence until the consumer has received all the information, with a maximum of three months.
See also remote shopping on Justice.nl