Good to know
Exceptions to the rules pertaining to off-premises purchases
The rules for off-premises purchases do not apply in all cases. We have outlined the most important exceptions below:
- Agreements pertaining to the construction, purchase and sale of real estate and the renting out of living space;
- Gambling activities for which real money is used;
- Package tours
- Agreements pertaining to timeshare and holiday clubs and all associated products, e.g. resale and exchange;
- Social services and healthcare;
- Purchases made from a mobile grocery store or vending machine;
- Agreements pertaining to the one-time use of a telecom connection such as the internet, telephone and fax;
- Agreements that require the intervention of a notary;
- Purchases made during a foreclosure.
The rules apply to a limited extent to:
- Financial products and services
- Passenger transport.
The seller’s information requirement pertaining to off-premises purchases
You must be able to make a well-informed purchase decision. The seller is therefore required to offer you extensive information about your purchase or agreement. He must do so before closing the agreement. You must receive this information in clear, understandable language and in a readable format. Below, we have listed the most important information the seller must provide to you:
- The seller’s information: name, address, telephone number, email address;
- The intermediate’s information (if applicable);
- The key characteristics of the product or service;
- The total costs, including delivery costs and all taxes;
- The telephone costs, if these are higher than the standard rate;
- The payment method;
- The methods for the delivery of the product and the execution of the agreement;
- The delivery time;
The seller’s complaints procedure.
If the seller neglects to inform you about the total cost of a product or service, including any additional costs, you are not required to pay said costs.
Information about the cooling-off period of your purchase
You can terminate the purchase agreement during the cooling-off period. This is known as withdrawal. The seller must provide you with the following information about the cooling-off period and the right of withdrawal:
- Whether the purchase agreement has a cooling-off period or not;
- The conditions that apply to the cooling—off period;
- The period during which you can change your mind;
- How you can invoke your right of withdrawal;
- The costs of returning the product;
- A standard withdrawal form.
If the seller neglects to fully inform you about the cooling-off period, it may be extended up to a period of twelve months. Once the seller does provide you with the requisite information, the legal fourteen-day cooling-off period starts.
Other information requirements
The selling is also required to inform you about the following:
- Your right to a decent product;
- The seller’s warranty procedure;
- Whether the seller is bound by any behavioural codes;
- The duration of the agreement, if it concerns a long-term agreement;
- The conditions of termination, if it concerns an agreement for an indefinite period of time or one that is subject to tacit renewal;
- Whether you have to pay a deposit or offer any other form of financial guarantee;
- Whether the seller is associated with a complaints or arbitration committee and how you can make use of their services.
If you are purchasing a digital product, the seller is also required to provide you with the following information:
- How the product works, what it can do and how you can use it;
- What technical security features there are, e.g. copy protection;
- The compatibility of the product with hard- and software, e.g. the software’s hardware requirements.
Is the seller required to send me a confirmation?
When you enter into an agreement off premises, for example by making a purchase, the seller is required to give you a copy of the signed agreement or a confirmation on paper. It may also come on a different durable medium, if you consent to this. A durable medium allows you to download or print the information.
If you purchase a digital product that can be used immediately, you must clearly waive your right to a cooling-off period in a statement. This statement must be included in the confirmation.
What rules apply to the delivery of the product?
The seller usually has thirty days to deliver your order, unless you have agreed to different terms. If the seller promised to deliver the product or service within three days, they have to honour this promise. It is also possible for the seller and you to agree upon a longer delivery period than thirty days.
What rules apply if no delivery is made?
If your product or service is not delivered on time, the seller is not fulfilling their obligation. You must give the seller the opportunity to complete the delivery after all via a reminder. The delivery must then be made within a reasonable period of time. If the seller fails to deliver during this period, you can terminate the agreement. The seller must then refund any amounts you already paid.
You do not have to give the seller a chance to complete the delivery after all in the following cases:
- The seller has refused to deliver the product or service;
- The delivery must be made within the agreed-upon period;
- You have notified the seller before entering into the agreement that delivery before a certain date is required.
In these cases, you can request a refund from the seller immediately.
Who carries the risk?
From the moment you receive the product, you carry the risk. This also applies when the product was accepted by someone you appointed, e.g. your neighbours. Until that time, the seller carries the risk. They are responsible for any damage to the product during shipment. If you choose your own transporter, other than the one offered by the seller, you carry the risk from the moment that the transporter receives the product.
What rules apply to additional services?
When entering into the agreement, additional services or products may not be selected in advance. You must explicitly agree to these additions by selecting them yourself. If the seller violates this rule, you must receive the additional service or the product free of charge. The seller is required to deliver the service or product to you.
What rules apply to the cooling-off period?
You have a legal fourteen-day cooling-off period when making an off-premises purchase. This is known as the right to withdrawal. During this period, you may terminate the purchase agreement without a fine or providing a reason. This is known as withdrawal.
The seller is required to offer you full information about the cooling-off period. If they fail to do so, the cooling-off period is extended up to twelve months. Once the seller does provide you with the requisite information, the standard legal fourteen-day cooling-off period starts.
Who is liable for the return shipment?
The seller must pick up the product from you at their expense when:
- The product was delivered to you after entering into the agreement;
- The product cannot be returned via the standard mail service due to its nature, e.g. its size.
In all other situations, you must return the product to the seller within fourteen days. The costs are for your account, unless the seller has not informed you about this. In that case, the seller must pay the costs of the return shipment.
When does the cooling-off period start?
When the legal cooling-off period for your purchase starts, depends on the type of agreement:
- If it concerns a product, the cooling-off period starts on the day on which you receive the product;
- If it concerns multiple products, the cooling-off period starts on the day on which you receive the final product;
- If it concerns a regular delivery of products during a certain period of time, the cooling-off period starts on the day on which you receive the first of these products;
- If it concerns a service, the cooling-off period starts on the day on which you entered into the agreement;
- If it concerns a digital product that you received via an internet connection, the cooling-off period starts on the day on which you entered into the agreement.
How can I make use of the cooling-off period?
If you want to withdraw your purchase during the cooling-off period, you can use the standard withdrawal form. The seller is required to give this to you. You do not have to use this form; you can also draw up your own letter or email. You can also withdraw the agreement via the seller’s website. The seller is required to send you a confirmation of the withdrawal on a durable medium. A durable medium means you can download or print the information.