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 The Consumer’s Right to Withdraw from an Online Purchase!

Are you a consumer? If you have made an online purchase, you have a right to return the products within 14 days and receive a refund!

Often, when making an online purchase for products or services, we wonder if we have a right to return them.

What happens for example if (1) I have purchased a TV or mobile phone or (2) agreed to a subscription service or (3) taken out a loan, online.

If you are a consumer, ie. a person not acting in your professional or business capacity, then, provided that you have purchased the products or services online, you have a right to cancel the agreement and receive a refund for the money you have paid.

This right, also known as the right to withdraw, allows you to return the purchased products and receive a refund.

Deadline to exercise the right to withdraw

You will need to exercise your right to withdraw within 14 days from the date of receiving the products or from the date which you have started to receive the services.

If the business has not informed you of your right to withdraw, then as a consumer you have a right to withdraw within 12 months and 14 days from the date of receiving the products or from the date which you have started to receive the services.

How do I exercise the right to withdraw?

The right to withdraw can be exercised by making any clear statement expressing your decision to withdraw from the agreement or based on a model withdrawal form provided by the business.

If the business does not provide a model withdrawal form, then this means that they have not informed you of your right to withdraw, therefore you have a right to withdraw within 12 months and 14 days from the date of receiving the products or from the date which you have started to receive the services. You will need to check the terms of the agreement which must be provided through the business’ website.

When am I entitled to a refund?

You are entitled to a refund within 14 days from the date of returning the products or from the date the business has received proof that you have sent the products back. With regards to services, the return should be made within 14 days of informing the business of your decision to exercise your right to withdraw.

Exceptions to the right to withdraw

You do not have a right to withdraw from the agreement in specific circumstances, such as when a service has already been fully provided to you with your consent, or when you have purchased on the basis of a price that is dependent on market fluctuations, or when you have purchased custom made products. The same applies for food products or other perishable products or products soon to expire, or sealed products that were unsealed by you upon receiving them if to do so would present a risk to public health (such as cosmetics, perfumes etc.).

There are also other types of agreements where you do not have a right to withdraw but these are very limited. In most cases you have a right to withdraw and receive a refund.

What are my rights in case a business refuses to provide a  refund?

If the business refuses to provide a refund, then you can request from the business that it refunds any money paid. If the business fails to resolve this, then you will need to check if the business has informed you on whether they resolve their disputes through an Alternative Dispute Resolution Entity. If they do not, then you can submit a complaint to the Consumer Protection Service against the business for two reasons. That they have not informed you of your right to withdraw and that they have not informed you whether they resolve their disputes through an Alternative Dispute Resolution Entity.

Furthermore you have a right to submit a complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution Entity, such as the Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution – www.adr.com.cy.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The publication of this article is co-funded by the European Union’s Consumer Programme (2014-2020).

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