Monday, June 9, 2014

Model / Template EU wide withdrawal form | Consumer Rights Directive

The new EU wide consumer law, the so called, consumer rights directive in Europe, that will be into force in most countries as from the 13th of june, requires that websites offer a EU wide withdrawal form. Customers are not obliged to use it, but you have to offer it at your website.
Since I could not find an easy working template for this EU wide withdrawal form, I created an interactive PDF file with the minimum required information.

Download the latest ADOBE reader to make the interactive template work.
  1. Download the interactive withdrawal form PDF template here
  2. Upload your company logo (in PDF) (I am sorry, I could not get it programmed to upload JPEG's)
  3. Translate the texts in the PDF (you can start typing over the existing text) or if needed empty just give a space.
  4. Save the file using the "save as" button in the top left corner


For those who can't work with the (beautifully programmed) interactive PDF, the microsoft word template is available here.

Some background information:

Differences in the ways in which the right of withdrawal is exercised in the Member States have caused costs for traders selling cross-border. The introduction of a harmonised model withdrawal form that the consumer may use should simplify the withdrawal process and bring legal certainty. For these reasons, Member States should refrain from adding any presentational requirements to the Union-wide model form relating for example to the font size. However, the consumer should remain free to withdraw in his own words, provided that his statement setting out his decision to withdraw from the contract to the trader is unequivocal. A letter, a telephone call or returning the goods with a clear statement could meet this requirement, but the burden of proof of having withdrawn within the time limits fixed in the Directive should be on the consumer. For this reason, it is in the interest of the consumer to make use of a durable medium when communicating his withdrawal to the trader. Source

There is a lot more you have to know about the consumer rights directive if you do distance selling in Europe. Read more here

Personally I think, it is far better to set minimum requirements more focused in an "electronic consumer friendly way", then the directive there is now.
In this case about withdrawals to make this obligatory:

  • Webshops must have an online form for customers to register their withdrawals.
  • Webshops must confirm via electronic communication the receipt of the registred withdrawals.
  • Webshops must confirm via electronic communication when the withdrawed goods arrived.
  • Webshops must confirm via electronic communication when the money is reimbursed to the customer.
  • Webshops must announce in their electronic order confirmation (most opened and read e-mail) how consumers can withdraw the purchased goods. 
You can learn a lot from your customers when they withdraw their purchases. Make sure you ask information about why they return and make sure you store information about how often they withdraw their purchases.

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