15 April 2010

Consumers need not pay for delivery, when withdrawing from a distance contract


Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/reguligc/public_html/reguligence.biz/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1243

logo300 (2)photo © 2010 Pierre Rattini | more info (via: Wylio)

Have you been dispirited to buy things online due to uncertainty as to how far is the reach of your consumer rights? Then if you have, I may hereby present a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) that provides for more legal clarity and encourages consumers to rely on their rights guaranteed by the Directive 97/7/EC on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts.

In particular, the ECJ ruled that suppliers must not seek to recover delivery cost from consumers deciding to withdraw from a distance contract. Funny enough, but the expense underlying the instant case amounted to only EUR 4,95. Yes, you are reading it correct: EUR 4,95. I know, the question as to who on earth would bother the ECJ for that laughable sum would be fully appropriate, however to the extent that, German meticulosity was not concerned. I believe, we should thank the Germans for their soft spot for accuracy and morality thereby resulting in consumer protection in particular and in legal certainty in general.

Having said the above, one should, however, not forget the somewhat special German scheme to protect consumer rights. Germany maintains so-called “Verbraucherzentrallen” or associations for consumer protection which are in charge to observe and enforce consumer rights and interests. In the instant case the association for consumer protection in the province of Nord Rhine – Westphalia succeded in obtaining an injunction against an online supplier and will eventually win the case. As such associations are publicly funded, they do not necessarily fear a defeat in court proceedings. That is most probably the reason for said association’s zeal to go through all the instances for such a case.

From a legal point of view, the ECJ’s ruling is remarkable as it precludes national legislation that does not grant a buying consumer, upon their withdrawal, with an explicit right to reimburse the cost of delivering the goods previously ordered. By so ruling, the ECJ strengthens the consumer protection and bars a possible imbalance between suppliers and consumers in distance contracts.

 

Did you find this article informative, helpful or entertaining? If yes, do not forget to share it by pressing one of below buttons or to otherwise tell your friends about it!