Obligation to give instructions on cancellation – sample cancellation instructions – regulations for internet retailers
The contracts concluded via web stores are in most cases to be subsumed under the distance selling law. According to the law, a distance contract is a contract in which “the entrepreneur (…) and the consumer for the contract negotiations and the conclusion of the contract exclusively use means of distance communication” § 312c I Civil Code (BGB).
According to § 14 I of the Civil Code (BGB), an entrepreneur is “a natural or legal person or a partnership with legal capacity who, when concluding a legal transaction, acts in the exercise of his commercial or independent professional activity.” The consequence of these legal regulations is that Internet traders or web stores must observe the obligations (in particular information obligations) of the Distance Selling Act – by Valentin Schulte Volkswirt & stud. iur at the law firm Dr. Thomas Schulte, Berlin.
Information duties for Internet traders
The specific information to be provided by the merchant results from § 312d BGB in conjunction with Art. 246a § 1 Introductory Act to the German Civil Code (EGBGB). Particular attention is paid here to the obligation to inform consumers about their statutory right of withdrawal and to provide a model withdrawal form.
Model cancellation form Web Shop
The existence of a right of withdrawal, the relevant deadlines and the corresponding procedures are derived from §§ 355 BGB, 312g BGB and Art. 246a § 1 EGBGB. The sample cancellation policy was created by the Federal Ministry of Justice and is provided on the Ministry’s website.
The following sample cancellation policy has been adapted for the operation of a webshop.
Cancellation policy / Right of withdrawal
You have the right to revoke this contract within fourteen days without giving any reason.
The revocation period is fourteen days from the day on which you or a third party named by you, who is not the carrier, have taken or has taken possession of the goods.
To exercise your right of withdrawal, you must inform us (company name, street number, postal code city; fax: ; e-mail: ) by means of a clear statement (eg a letter sent by mail, fax or e-mail) about your decision to revoke this contract. You can use the attached model withdrawal form for this purpose, which is, however, not mandatory.
In order to comply with the withdrawal period, it is sufficient that you send the notification of the exercise of the right of withdrawal before the expiry of the withdrawal period.
Consequences of the revocation
If you revoke this contract, we shall reimburse you all payments we have received from you, including delivery costs (with the exception of additional costs resulting from the fact that you have chosen a type of delivery other than the most favorable standard delivery offered by us), without undue delay and no later than within fourteen days from the day on which we received the notification of your revocation of this contract. For this repayment, we will use the same means of payment that you used for the original transaction, unless expressly agreed otherwise with you; in no case will you be charged any fees because of this repayment. We may refuse repayment until we have received the goods back or until you have provided proof that you have returned the goods, whichever is the earlier.
You must return or hand over the goods to us (company name, street number, postal code city) without undue delay and in any case no later than within fourteen days from the day on which you notify us of the revocation of this contract. The deadline is met if you send the goods before the expiry of the period of fourteen days.
You shall bear the direct costs of returning the goods.
You will only have to pay for any loss in value of the goods if this loss in value is due to your handling the goods in a way that is not necessary for the inspection of the condition, properties and functionality of the goods.
Consequences of a missing cancellation policy
An incorrect or missing cancellation policy constitutes a distortion of competition that can be warned off by competitors. A merchant with a missing cancellation policy bears the legal costs of the other party and is also exposed to the risk of high contractual penalties. For this reason, when receiving a warning letter, the merchant should first consult his own lawyer before signing any cease-and-desist declarations or paying the opposing party’s legal fees, in order to avoid making expensive mistakes or even mistakes that could threaten the merchant’s existence.
In addition, the revocation period does not start if the revocation instruction is missing or incomplete. Consumers can then revoke concluded contracts even after the 14-day revocation period. This is additionally extended by one year, which in this case corresponds to a revocation period of 1 year and 14 days.
Sample revocation form
To make it easier for consumers to revoke distance contracts, entrepreneurs are required to provide a model revocation form in addition to the revocation instruction, which they can use for revocation.
The model cancellation form was also created by the Federal Ministry of Justice and is provided on the Ministry’s website.
The following sample revocation form has been adapted for operating a web store.
Sample cancellation form
(If you wish to revoke the contract, please complete and return this form).
To: Company name, address
I/we __________________________________________ hereby revoke the contract concluded by me/us for the purchase of the following goods: __________________________________________.
Received on: __________________________________________
Name of the consumer: __________________________________________
Address of the consumer: __________________________________________
Place, date; signature of consumer*.
*only for communication on paper
Valentin Markus Schulte
economist, stud. iur
Law Office Dr. Thomas Schulte
Maltese Street 170
Phone: +49 30 221922020
The Kanzlei Dr. Schulte attorneys is successfully civil-legally since 1995 emphasis in the area of the Internet, Reputations- and competition right active. It represents country widely the interests of individual investors. Supplementing sender data with the Kanzleistandort find you in the imprint on the Internet side www.dr-schulte.de.