Trade fairs attract many consumers. The temporary nature of these events and the announcement of promotional offers can lead to hasty purchases which consumers may end up regretting. The question that arises most often is whether or not it is possible to cancel a purchase without incurring any costs (right of withdrawal). This issue is regulated slightly differently in Luxembourg and its neighboring countries.
The law does not clearly regulate whether there is a right of withdrawal for a purchase at a fair. Several interpretations have been made of the habitual character of the trader's activity at a fair. If a trader habitually participates in a fair, it could be inferred that this is a regular business establishment and that the consumer therefore does not bear a right of withdrawal. On the other hand, if the trader is present for the first time or at a fair occasionally, it could be inferred that it is a sale outside the trader's normal business premises and that there is a right of withdrawal. The difficulty will be to prove whether or not the trader's presence at the fair is unusual.
The Court of Justice considers that the trader's professional activity is less decisive than the nature of the goods sold and that only a judge is able to assess the possibility of a right of withdrawal or not.
In view of the legal uncertainties surrounding this question of the right of withdrawal for a purchase at a fair, it is advisable to consider that there is no right of withdrawal for a purchase made at a fair in Luxembourg.
You do not have the right to withdraw from a purchase made at a trade fair in Germany. Indeed, German case law considers that a trade fair stand is a commercial establishment, where a consumer can expect commercial offers.
There are some exceptions to this basic rule, i. e. if a trader sells products which have nothing to do with the subject of the fair (i. e. sale of a hoover at a tourism fair).
A fair is considered to be a commercial establishment if its appearance leads the consumer to expect that a business will solicit him to sell goods or services. For contracts concluded at such fairs there is no right of withdrawal.
It is sometimes difficult to determine whether the seller carries out his business in these ephemeral places on a regular basis or not. Each situation has to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and is subject to interpretation. The vendor's stall at a market held on a weekly basis undoubtedly constitutes his commercial establishment. In this case you are subject to the regime for purchases in a shop. The situation is less clear-cut for a stall run by a trader at a fair or exhibition that is held only annually. This type of venue may or may not be perceived as a commercial establishment, depending on the point of view and interests of each party.
We therefore advise you to be careful when making a purchase at a fair or at an exhibition, and to ask the seller to clearly state on the order form, contract or invoice that you have a withdrawal period.
You do not have the right to withdraw from a purchase made at a fair. The seller must inform you of this before concluding a contract (Article L. 224-59 of the French Consumer Code). This information must be displayed in a visible manner, on a panel which´s size is greater than or equal to A3 and in a font size that cannot be smaller than the size 90, mentioning the following sentence: "The consumer does not benefit from a right of withdrawal for any purchase made at [this fair] or [this trade fair], or [at this stand]" (Article 1 of the Order of 2 December 2014 on the modalities of information on the absence of withdrawal period for the benefit of the consumer at trade fairs and exhibitions). In addition, contract offers must mention, in a legible manner, the following sentence: "The consumer does not benefit from a right of withdrawal for a purchase made at a fair or exhibition". The box containing this sentence must be located in the header of the contract and in a font size that may not be smaller than the body size 12 (Article 2 of the Order of 2 December 2014). If the seller does not comply with his obligation to provide information on the absence of a right of withdrawal, he risks an administrative fine of up to €3,000.
If the purchase made at a fair or exhibition is financed by credit, there is a right of withdrawal for the credit in question.