If you are buying goods or services online, there are several rules and regulations that exist to protect you as a consumer.
To avoid common “traps” do not hesitate to:
- Check the reputation of the website through your internet browser.
- Verify that the site provides for not only the name of the company, yet equally a complete address. An email address or a simple phone number is not sufficient.
- Use secured methods of payment. Avoid bank transfers and specialized money transfer companies (only to be used if you know whom you are sending money).
When concluding online contracts with a trader established in the EU, the consumer bears several rights:
The trader’s obligation to provide information
The trader must provide the consumer with certain information prior to the order which include:
- their identity and address (an e-mail address alone is not sufficient),
- the essential characteristics of the product or service, the period of validity of the offer,
- a precise and unequivocal price indicative of what is included in the advertised price,
- the terms of payment, delivery or performance (such as possible credit options, the consequences of poor performance or non-performance of the service provider's obligations),
- the withdrawal period (including the method of reimbursement of sums paid in the event of withdrawal, the conditions of guarantees and after-sales services).
In addition, the trader must subsequently confirm all this information through durable medium (letter, e-mail or fax).
The consumer's right of withdrawal
The consumer has, at least throughout the EU, a period of 14 days to withdraw from the contract without having to give any reason or pay any penalty. The only costs that may be charged to the consumer are the costs of returning the goods or a proportional amount corresponding to the part of the service performed before the withdrawal.
It is necessary to inform (on any durable medium) the trader who will have to reimburse the amount already paid. The withdrawal period runs in principle, for services, from the day of the conclusion of the contract and for products, from the day of receipt of the product.
Delivery of the order
European legislation states that items ordered online must be delivered to the agreed destination within 30 days at the latest, unless you have agreed a different date with the trader. If your order is not delivered within this period, or within a reasonable time, contact the trader in writing and ask him to deliver the item as soon as possible. In the eventuality of failing to do so, request the trader to refund you.
Guarantee of conformity
When buying on the internet, you have the same legal guarantee rights as when you buy in a shop. If the product is not conform in respect of the original offer, you are entitled to repair, replacement or, if this is not possible, a refund or reduction of the purchase price.
For new products, the legal guarantee lasts for 2 years. Attention, defects of conformity will be presumed to exist during the first year of this guarantee. After this period, it will be up to the consumer to prove the existence of said defects. This legal guarantee is regulated by EU Directive 1999/44/EC and by Article L.212-1 and subsequent provisions of the Luxembourg Consumer Code.
5 tips from the ECC Luxembourg for your next online payments
- “Buy now, pay later" services may seem like a good thing, but they bear risks. Use this service only if you are able to afford the product and make sure you pay on time to avoid extra charges.
- Beware of messages that encourage you to rush into a purchase, such as "Only today 50% off". Let the pressure bounce off you & compare prices on different websites instead.
- Choose the credit card payment method for more protection, such as the possibility of activiting the chargeback procedure if you become a victim of fraud.
- Secure your mobile wallets with a separate password or identification method.
- During sales days, some shops raise prices only to lower them again and advertise them as discounts. We advise you to keep an eye on prices throughout the year and set up price alerts.