Most products sold by door-to-door sales are subject to a 14-day cancellation period within which the consumer may cancel the purchase without giving a reason.
The way in which the 14-day cancellation period is calculated, and the right to cancel, are dependent on whether the purchase is related to physical goods or a service agreement.
A combined agreement that includes both the purchase of physical goods and services must be assessed on the basis of its essential function. The agreement is to be regarded as a contract of sale of goods if the main purpose of the agreement is the transfer of the right of possession to the goods and if the value of the goods is relatively higher than the proportion of the work involved, such as a contract on the purchase and installation of kitchen furniture.
The 14-day cancellation period is calculated from the receipt of the goods or the final batch of the goods. In the case of regular deliveries of goods, the cancellation period is calculated as 14 days from the receipt of the first instalment.
The cancellation period will be prolonged if the company fails to provide the consumer with advance information about the terms related to exercising the cancellation right, the time limits, and procedures. Prolongation of the cancellation period
The cancellation right does not apply in certain cases, including:
- a contract on products manufactured or modified according to the consumer’s wishes or otherwise clearly made to correspond to the consumer’s individual needs, for instance, goods that are engraved or marked. The loss of the cancellation right does not apply to products that are comparable to standard goods and the modification of which by the consumer is only limited.
When assessing the right to cancel, the issue of whether the product is fit for resale is to be taken into account. If resale of the product without a significant loss is not possible, the consumer has no cancellation right.
- a contract on products that perish or expire quickly or that have, due to their nature, become inseparably mixed with other products after delivery (e.g. garden soil that has already been spread).
- products delivered in a sealed package that, for health or hygiene reasons, cannot be returned after the package has been opened.
The 14-day cancellation period begins as of the time at which the agreement was finalised.
Service provision may begin after the confirmation of delivery before the end of the cancellation period upon the specific request of the consumer.
The right of cancellation exists even if service provision began upon the consumer's request before the cancellation period ended.
- If service provision has begun during the cancellation period, and the service is subsequently cancelled, the consumer must pay the business a reasonable compensation for the services rendered under the agreement, calculated in proportion to the overall price of the agreement.
- If the trader began delivery of services based on the agreement during the cancellation period without the consumer’s explicit request or if the consumer was not informed about the issue, the consumer is not liable to pay for the services rendered partially or in full during the cancellation period.
The cancellation period will be prolonged for the consumer if the company fails to provide the consumer with advance information about the terms related to exercising the cancellation right, the time limits, and procedures. Prolongation of the cancellation period
The right to cancel does not apply in certain cases, including if the service was rendered in full at the explicit request of the consumer, and the consumer was informed about the lack of cancellation right. For instance, no cancellation right applies to an agreement concerning window cleaning or home renovation if the service was rendered in full at the explicit request of the consumer, and the consumer was informed about the lack of cancellation right.
Cancellation of door-to-door sales
The consumer is entitled to cancel the sales contract without specifying a reason. It is not enough to return the goods, however: the consumer must submit a notice of cancellation to the vendor using a pre-printed form or by another unambiguous method (e.g. email).
When supplying the other advance information related to the sale, the vendor must provide the consumer with a cancellation form and other instructions related to cancelling the contract.
Extension of cancellation period
If the consumer is not informed in the advance information about the terms and conditions, time periods, and procedures related to exercising the cancellation right, the cancellation period will end 12 months from the end of the standard cancellation period. If the lack of information is corrected by the vendor, the cancellation period will end 14 days after the date on which the consumer received the corrected information.
Cancellation after the expiry of the cancellation period or in the absence of right to cancel
In principle, agreements are binding on both parties. If there is no cancellation right, or if it has expired, and the purchaser commits a breach of contract by cancelling the order for the goods or service before delivery, the seller has, however, no right to uphold the contract and demand payment of the purchase price. Instead, the seller has the right to compensation for the damage caused.