Most consumers are already aware that if they shop on-line they can, within two weeks of the purchase rescind the purchase contract and return the goods without stating a reason and without being subject to any sanctions. This is regulated by law mainly because when consumers purchase goods from a distance, without the opportunity of seeing such goods, they should be allowed, subject to certain conditions, to return these goods if they do not meet their expectations.
However, unfortunately hardly any consumers are aware that for a long time a similar policy has also applied to purchases made outside the seller's commercial premises. Such purchases include all kinds of door-to-door sales, as well as goods presented at sales shows where consumers are offered items such as a "delicious lunch", "a gift electric razor for men" or "a set of washing powders for women" where the main purpose is to present overpriced goods of a questionable quality. In such situations, many consumers give in to the dealer's elaborate strategy and end up purchasing the goods. But nothing is lost yet – if the purchaser changes his mind after returning back home (which happens very often), within two weeks of the purchase he can still rescind the purchase contract with a written notice, without stating a reason or being subject to any sanctions.
There was one exception, however, set forth for a long time in Section 57 of the Civil Code, under which the consumer's right to rescind the contract within two weeks did not apply: when he had explicitly arranged for a dealer's visit at his place with the aim of placing an order. Do you understand now why dealers are so ready to offer "free delivery"? Precisely! To make the consumers sign a document stating that they wish to have the purchased goods delivered to or installed in their homes. In these situations the sellers hardly have any goodwill. Unlike consumers, dealers often use this exception, thus depriving the consumers of their right to rescind the contract within two weeks.
However, this situation will soon change, as the amendment to the Civil Code that was published in the Collection of Laws under no. 170/2012 on 30 May 2012 contains no such exception for purchases made outside of ordinary business premises. Consumers are now only prevented from rescinding a contract within two weeks if it is a contract on repair or maintenance performed at the request of and at a place indicated by the consumer. Thus, consumers do not have to worry anymore that they will not be able to return the goods they have purchased at a sales show, as the sellers may no longer deprive them of such a right. The time for return may only be extended. The amendment came into effect on the 15th day after publication, i.e. on 14 June 2012.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.