Amendments to the Right of Withdrawal in Electronic Commerce in Spain

The adaptation of Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on Consumer Rights has caused several changes to the Right of Withdrawal. These changes are necessary when drafting or amending the general terms and conditions of B2C electronic commerce.

The Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 25, 2011 on Consumer Rights amends the Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament. These Directives amend the European Parliament and Council Directive 85/577/EEC and the Council Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. The Directive 2011/83/EU brings about significant changes in the configuration of the Right of Withdrawal of consumers, which the trader must consider.

The following points provide a summary in four aspects on the principal amendments of consumers’ Right of Withdrawal:

  • Extension of the period to exercise the Right of Withdrawal. Consumers have a period of 14 calendar days to exercise this Right compared to seven days previously. Additionally, if the trader failed in its duty to provide information and documentation on the Right of Withdrawal, the period for exercising this Right shall be 12 months from the date the initial withdrawal period expires — starting from the delivery of the contract or the conclusion of the contract if the provision of services was involved.
  • Providing new documentation on the Right of Withdrawal. The new wording of the General Law for the Protection of Consumers and Users and other supplemental laws provide new models:
    • a model document on user and consumer information about withdrawal, and
    • a model withdrawal form
  • Amendments to the exceptions to the Right of Withdrawal. For greater precision, the list of exceptions to exercising the Right of Withdrawal expands, and generic references to the nature of the goods, such as circumstances that prevent the return of the goods, disappear.
  • Implementation of the Right of Withdrawal. Both the consumer and the trader must come to mutual restitution of benefits within a period of 14 calendar days after notification of the consumer invoking the Right of Withdrawal. The trader can withhold the refund of the initial amount paid by the consumer until receipt of goods or until the consumer has supplied evidence of the return of goods.

Article 28 of the Directive 2011/83/EU requires application as of June 13, 2014. However, given the importance of the changes described above, it is advisable to revise the wording of the general terms and conditions for users and update internal trade procedures to adapt to the new conditions.

This article is not considered as legal advice

Nicolás Melchior

A Law graduate from the Universidad Carlo III de Madrid, Nicolás Melchior specialises in corporate Law, commercial contracts and electronic commerce. Working languages: Spanish, German, English and French. For any further enquiries please Contact us