Distance selling: consumer right of withdrawal

You have 14 days to change your mind. It is the right of withdrawal. This period concerns cases of purchase by internet, by telephone or by post (sale through printed catalogs received by La Poste) or by fax. If you exercise this right, the seller must reimburse you for the goods or services ordered. However, some purchases are not affected.

What is it about?

If you buy a good or service remotely, you have the right to change your mind about your purchase. It is the right of withdrawal.

The seller must inform you of the existence or absence of this right before the conclusion of your order. It can use a standard information notice.

However, the right of withdrawal does not apply to the following purchases:

  • Goods or services whose price depends on fluctuations in financial market rates, which may occur during the withdrawal period (example: purchase of gold)
  • Goods made to your request or clearly personalized, the manufacture of which requires special adaptations to meet very specific technical and aesthetic requirements (for example, furniture or clothing made to measure). The choice of options (color, finish, etc.) in the ranges of standard elements offered by the professional does not sufficiently modify the nature or destination of the goods, to make them clearly personal
  • Goods that can deteriorate or perish quickly, except food products with a date of minimum durability (MDD)
  • Goods that you have opened and cannot be returned for reasons of hygiene or health protection (for example, sealed cosmetics, underwear sold in sealed sachets)
  • Goods inseparable from other articles (for example, remote control for a television set)
  • Digital content provided on an intangible medium and subscription contract for these services, the execution of which has started with your agreement and for which you have waived your right of withdrawal (for example, a downloaded film)
  • Services fully executed before the end of the withdrawal period and whose execution has started with your agreement or your request. A service can be considered as executed if you have made a reservation (for example, parking space), but you have not taken advantage of the service and this, without cancellation. For example, if you have reserved a parking space for September 20 but have not used it, you will not be able to use your right of withdrawal on September 21
  • Supply of alcoholic beverages whose delivery is deferred beyond 30 days and whose value depends on financial market rates (for example, grands crus reserved before harvest)
  • CDs, DVDs or computer software that you have opened
  • Supply of newspapers, periodicals or magazines, except in the case of a subscription contract
  • Urgent maintenance or repair work carried out at your home and at your request, within the limit of spare parts and work necessary for the strict repair. Thus, the replacement or installation of equipment which is unrelated to the failure or which goes beyond repair is subject to the exercise of the right of withdrawal. For example, you install an armored door on the occasion of an intervention request for a door opening
  • Concluded at a public auction. In the absence of an adjudication, electronic brokerage operations (intervention of a third party in the description of the property and the conclusion of the sale) are subject to the right of withdrawal.
  • Accommodation service (hotel, campsite, etc.), transport (people, goods, moving), car rental, catering or leisure activities provided on a date or according to a determined periodicity (show ticket …). The sale of gift vouchers or vouchers for welfare services with a validity period of 1 year does not come under the exception to the right of withdrawal.

Calculation of the withdrawal period

You have a minimum of 14 days to change your mind about your remote purchase. The same deadline applies for canvassing by telephone.

The 14 day deadline is the minimum legal deadline.

The professional can offer a longer period to his clients.

The right of withdrawal also applies if the product is on sale, used or out of stock.

You can exercise your right of withdrawal from:

  • the conclusion of the contract for the provision of services, the supply of digital content excluding material support, the supply of water, gas, electricity or district heating,
  • their receipt for the goods,
  • receipt of goods for mixed contracts (i.e. having as their object both the provision of services and the delivery of goods).

If your order covers goods delivered separately or is a goods composed of lots or multiple parts whose delivery is staggered, the period begins upon receipt of:

  • the last good or lot,
  • or the last piece.

If the contract provides for the regular delivery of goods during a defined period, the period begins upon receipt of the 1st  good.

If the seller has not informed you of your right of withdrawal, the period is extended by 12 months from the end of the initial withdrawal period.

But if this information is provided to you during this extension, the deadline is again 14 days. It begins on the date you receive the information.

Exercise of the right of withdrawal

Before the expiry of the withdrawal period, you must send the seller the standard withdrawal form that must be provided with the contract or another writing expressing your desire to withdraw.

You can use a template document to write your mail.

The simple return of the goods without declaration or the refusal to take delivery are not sufficient to express your wish to retract.

You don’t have to justify your decision.

The professional may not require special conditions (for example require the sending of a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt).

However, if this is necessary, you must be able to provide the elements to prove the use of your right of withdrawal.

Any clause by which the consumer gives up his right of withdrawal is void.

The seller may also allow you to complete and submit the form or declaration on its website. In this case, the professional will issue you an acknowledgment of receipt of your withdrawal.

In the event of a dispute, you will have to prove that you have respected the withdrawal period.

Effects of the right of withdrawal

The main contract and the accessory contracts associated to the main contract of sale or provision of service (examples: insurance contract, credit contract) are terminated.

You must return the product.

The seller must reimburse you for the full amount you have paid, including delivery costs.

Product Return

You must return the goods to the seller no later than 14 days after sending your withdrawal.

You must pay the following amounts:

  • Direct costs of return unless the seller pays for them or if he has not informed you that you have to pay these costs.
  • Additional costs for the delivery of goods if you have chosen a more expensive delivery method than the delivery method usually offered by the seller. For example, if you expressly choose express delivery within 24 hours when the seller offered an ordinary delivery method resulting in lower delivery costs, you bear the cost difference between these 2 types of delivery.
  • Fixed and proportional costs for the provision of the service, the performance of which began before the end of the withdrawal period at your express request.

In the event of an express request to perform the service before the end of the withdrawal period, you will not be liable for any sum if the professional has not collected your express request on paper or on a durable medium. This is also the case if the trader has not informed you of the obligation to pay a fee for the service provided until the withdrawal.

If part of the order is returned, the seller must reimburse you for the delivery costs in proportion to the number of items returned, except in the case of flat-rate delivery costs.

Reimbursement by the professional

Repayment period

The seller must reimburse you at the latest within 14 days of the date on which he was informed of your decision to withdraw, unless there is a justified delay.

However, for a sale of goods, the seller may defer reimbursement until the day the goods are collected or until you have provided proof of shipment of the goods.

In the event of a delay in reimbursement (after the 14 day period or after the return of the goods), the sums due are automatically increased.

In the event of a dispute, you can contact a consumer association or the Federation of Distance Selling Companies (Fevad).


Means of reimbursement

The seller reimburses you by the same means of payment as for the purchase.

If you agree, he can also use another means at no additional cost to you.

Thus, a refund in the form of credit or vouchers can only take place if the purchase was made in this form, or if the consumer has given his express consent for a refund in this form.