Your rights as an online buyer
Online consumers are protected by law, but what are your rights and obligations?
If you buy something as a consumer, online or offline, you are protected by consumer law. Consumer law covers all the rules and obligations the seller must meet, as well as the rules and obligations you must meet.
What does consumer law say?
Consumer law covers the following topics, among others:
- Legal warranty
Consumer law governs how long consumers are entitled to warranty, even though the law isn’t entirely unambiguous in this area. Warranty terms depend in part on the nature of the product in question, as some products have a longer lifespan than others and certain products can be expected to last longer than others. On top of that, Consumer law stipulates that you are also entitled to a warranty on products that were gifted to you, used products, or products you bought in an auction or through a marketplace.
Thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), consumer privacy is well protected. For example, you have the right to know what personal data an e-retailer has on you. On top of that, you have the right to access these data at all times and have them deleted at your request.
- Manifest errors
A manifest error occurs when you could have known or understood that the price was far too low for the item on offer. In other words, even if it wasn't immediately obvious to you that the price advertised was a mistake, the difference between the price displayed and the real price was so significant that there should have been at least reason for doubt. If there is any doubt as to the accuracy of the price, you, the consumer, are obliged to make your own inquiries.
Returns are a hot topic within e-commerce and there are various rights and obligations associated with them. For example, before you decide to return a product, you may only unpack and use it to the extent necessary to assess whether you wish to keep it. In addition, you should be refunded the full cost of your order (plus any shipping and handling fees) when you return it, but you must pay the cost of the return shipping (from you back to the online store) yourself.
- Payment and refund obligations
Consumers and e-retailers also have various rights and obligations with regard to payments. For example, an e-retailer may refuse to accept a certain payment method (for example, if the costs are too high), and one-off direct debit payments cannot be reversed. In addition, Dutch e-retailers may not require a consumer to pay more than half of the purchase price upfront. In other words, they must also offer a buy-now-pay-later method that gives the consumer the option not to pay everything up front.
Shopping Secure's members undergo annual certification/recertification to ensure they comply with applicable rules and regulations. If you’re buying from a certified e-retailer, you can rest assured in the knowledge that everything is as it should be. In the unlikely event that something does go wrong, you have the option to submit a complaint to us.
Do you have questions about your rights as a consumer?
Can’t find your question here? Contact our legal department by sending an email to email@example.com.