In most cases, as a consumer, you are a contracting party to the sales contract during your daily activities. In order to consume services such as utilities, insurance, you must conclude a service contract with the service provider. However, you also conclude a sales contract with an e-retailer when you purchase goods from the e-store, such as groceries, clothing, electronics. You also sign a contract by creating an account on a website or downloading an application.
There are therefore several consumer-related contracts, such as insurance, financial and utility contracts, travel contracts and sports agreements.
Before concluding a contract
- verify that the dealer has provided their contact details through which you can contact them if you have any questions or problems;
- carry out a background check of the trader or service provider by interviewing your friends or browsing the reviews, see also: the Consumer Protection Committee blacklist;
- determine whether the goods or services are provided by a private or legal person, e.g. whether the money is to be paid to an individual or a company;
- You know that if you purchase a product or service from a private individual, the consumer protection regulations do not apply and you therefore have no right to make a claim. In case of problems, you can only seek help from the court;
- Regarding the service, you should seek and compare offers from at least two or three companies, taking into account the terms and conditions of the contract and the price.
- Take the time to familiarize yourself thoroughly with the terms and conditions of the contract and ask any questions you may have;
- When reading the contract, make sure what your rights and obligations are;
- Read if and how you can terminate the contract for the service;
- Please note that in the case of a fixed-term contract, early termination may result in a penalty, depending on the duration of the contract;
- Be clear about when you need to pay your bill and what can happen if you default on payment;
- Regarding the service, learn how the dealer informs you of any problems you may encounter and how you should inform them of any problems;
- make it clear how and where to complain about the goods or service.
- Although the law does not generally require the written form of the contract, a written contract is required, especially when purchasing valuable items. In the case of an oral contract, it is difficult, if not impossible, for you to prove that the trader or service provider has violated the obligations under the contract.
- The contract is binding on both parties.
- In the case of a telephone sales call, you also have the right to demand the terms and conditions in writing.
Your consumer rights, in particular the right of withdrawal, depend on how you sign the contract: online, by telephone, in a company office, at an event, in a shopping mall or with a seller behind your door.
- If you sign the contract at a company headquarters, you have no 14-day right of withdrawal.
- If you sign the contract online or by telephone or by ordering from the catalog, you can cancel it within 14 days.
- If you sign a contract at an event or in the lobby of the shopping center with a seller who comes to you unexpectedly or with an agent who appears behind your door, you have a 14-day right of withdrawal.
There are differences in the cancellation policy for each type of contract. Therefore, before you decide to withdraw, you should check your rights and the corresponding provisions in the respective agreement.
- You can withdraw from an out-of-company contract, a distance contract, a consumer credit contract, an insurance contract and a package travel contract without giving the seller a reason for withdrawal.
- If you want to terminate a limited-term contract for electricity or heat prematurely and want to terminate it at least one month in advance, the trader may not charge you a contractual penalty.
- If you have received a free device with a contract, there is the possibility that if you cancel the contract early, you will have to pay back the cost of the device.
14-day right of withdrawal
When shopping online, you will not be able to inspect the product thoroughly as you would in a normal store. Therefore, you may withdraw from the contract concluded by communication within 14 days of receiving the product.
In the case of the purchase of the service, the 14-day period begins with the conclusion of the contract.
Regarding the return of products, you should know:
- If the trader has not informed you of the right of withdrawal within 14 days, you can withdraw from the contract concluded online within 12 months from the day on which the product arrives.
- The trader often pays the shipping costs associated with returning the product; however, the trader may also impose this obligation on you. However, it must be clearly stated in the terms and conditions of the contract.
- If you decide to withdraw from the contract, you must receive a refund immediately, but no later than 14 days from the date of withdrawal. A refund must include the shipping costs you paid to receive the goods. You must return the goods to the seller within the same period.
- The 14-day return policy does not apply, among other things, to: goods manufactured to your personal needs, e.g. to your measurements; to goods that are perishable or outdated; to magazines; audio and video recordings and computer software, if the consumer has opened the package; sealed items that cannot be returned for health or hygiene reasons, if the package is opened after delivery, e.g. cosmetics, lingerie and bikinis; entertainment and travel services.
If you have received the products ordered over the Internet and there is a defect, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the seller within two years of receiving the product.
Last updated: 08.04.2021