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Understanding the Right of Withdrawal in the EU: A Guide for Online Businesses

In e-commerce, understanding consumer rights is paramount for businesses operating within the European Union. The “Consumer Rights” Directive 2011/83/EU, alongside its amendments under the “Omnibus” Directive 2019/2161, outlines the right of withdrawal, a pivotal aspect of consumer protection in the B2C (business-to-consumer) context. 

This right allows European consumers to withdraw from distance contracts—those made online or outside a physical store—without needing to provide a reason, creating a higher degree of consumer confidence and trust in online transactions.

Key Points of the Right of Withdrawal

  • Duration: Consumers have 14 days to withdraw from a contract, starting from the day they, or a designated third party, receive the goods, or, in the case of services and digital content not provided on a tangible medium, from the day the contract is concluded.
  • Scope: This right covers a wide range of purchases, including goods, services, and digital content, with specific provisions for goods delivered in multiple lots or pieces, and recurring deliveries.

Exceptions to the Right of Withdrawal

However, certain contracts are exempt from this right, here are a few examples:

  • Perishable goods or those likely to deteriorate rapidly.
  • Custom-made or clearly personalized goods.
  • Sealed goods not suitable for return due to health or hygiene reasons if unsealed after delivery.
  • Specific services and digital content, especially when immediate performance is initiated with the consumer’s prior express consent, acknowledging the loss of withdrawal right.

Updates from the Omnibus Directive

The Omnibus Directive introduced nuances, particularly concerning digital content and services where there is no money transaction, but instead personal data is provided as consideration.

However, in this instance, the right of withdrawal may not apply, depending on whether the data processing is solely for contract performance or legal compliance.

Navigating the Regulations with iubenda

We know well that for online businesses, navigating these regulations can be daunting…

Luckily for businesses, iubenda provides an essential toolkit for ensring compliance with the EU’s consumer protection laws. 

By integrating iubenda’s solutions, businesses can easily adapt their online platforms to meet these legal requirements, ensuring a transparent and trustworthy environment for their European consumers.

  • Customizable Policies: Tailor your terms and conditions, privacy policies, and more to include the necessary clauses regarding the right of withdrawal and its exceptions.
  • Legal Compliance: Stay up-to-date with the latest in EU consumer protection legislation, including detailed information on when the right of withdrawal applies and its exceptions.
  • Ease of Use: iubenda’s user-friendly interface and expert legal framework offer peace of mind, simplifying compliance so you can focus on growing your business.

How to find the related clauses

Within our Terms and Conditions Generator dashboard you can easily add these clauses in three simple steps:

First, add clauses:

    Then, click on the Business model, payments and user rights tile:

    Next, scroll down to User rights ― required by law or offered voluntarily by you, under the subheadingMandatory right of withdrawal for consumers in the EU click on the checkbox next to “Right of withdrawal” section (required by law for European consumers) and below that, click on the check box next to Applicability of withdrawal right → You offer goods or services that the right of withdrawal applies to.

      Finally, scroll down to find the Exceptions drop down box.

        Ensure your online business thrives in the European market by prioritizing compliance with the EU’s consumer protection laws. With iubenda, you can seamlessly integrate comprehensive legal solutions tailored to your needs, ensuring your operations align with the right of withdrawal requirements and beyond.

        Start with iubenda today and build a stronger, more trustworthy relationship with your consumers. 

        Join us now to take the first step towards compliance excellence.