Read all the regulations governing the right to return a product.
Who it applies to
The right of withdrawal does not cover every buyer. The first limitation is its application only to consumers. Despite past attempts to broadly interpret this term, it is now established that with this term it is possible to identify only the natural person who acts outside his professional activity. The Civil Code, in fact, designates it in this way:“the consumer is the natural person who acts for purposes unrelated to any entrepreneurial or professional activity carried out” (art. 1469 bis). Basically, companies and professionals with a VAT number cannot assert the right of withdrawal for purchases made in this capacity.
When it applies
Furthermore, a further limitation is to be recorded regarding the sales opportunities for its application. In fact, this possibility is given only for purchases made at a distance (including cases of e-commerce) and for those stipulated outside the business premises. In these cases, the legislator has decided to identify the conditions of weakness of the consumer at the time of the conclusion of the purchase, and therefore has decided to guarantee it by granting him this right. Therefore, it is advisable to carefully evaluate the final moment of the purchase. In fact, an online purchase can also be limited to the order, with the actual purchase sent back to a physical point of sale, where the goods can be immediately collected. In these cases, the purchase is concluded in a shop, and therefore the possibility of asserting the right of withdrawal is skipped.
The right of withdrawal for sales concluded at a distance cannot be applied in these cases:
a) for the supply of services whose execution has begun, with the consent of the consumer, before the expiry of the seven-day term.
b) for the supply of goods or services, the price of which is linked to fluctuations in financial market rates that the supplier is unable to control.
c) for the supply of goods made to measure or clearly personalized or which, by their nature, cannot be returned or are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly.
d) for the supply of audiovisual products or sealed computer software, opened by the consumer.
e) for the supply of newspapers, periodicals and magazines.
f) for betting and lottery services.
It is evident that pitfalls can be hidden in the forecast indicated in point c). The goods made to measure are those actually made ad personam:obviously the choice of the color of the goods, for example, is not such, nor the good that results from the combination of several standard parts. Personalized goods are for example medals or bracelets engraved with names or dates of birth, but not those with a personal name pre-printed. Finally, the goods that cannot be returned or that risk deteriorating are essentially foodstuffs.
Of course, different agreements between seller and buyer are also valid with respect to the categories mentioned from a) to f) if for greater protection of the buyer.
The actual withdrawal
The right of withdrawal can be exercised by the consumer in any case of a distance contract, without penalty and without any obligation to specify the reason. As regards the purchase of goods, this right is exercised within ten working days of receipt of the letter by registered letter or even by fax or telegram (provided that it is confirmed by registered letter within 48 hours). For the calculation of the days, it is considered exercised at the time of sending the registered letter. This ten-day term becomes three months if the supplier has not fulfilled the information obligations provided for by Legislative Decree 185/99.
In the case of supply of services, the right of withdrawal cannot be exercised in the case of supply started before ten days. Obviously, different agreements are allowed (more favorable to the consumer) and equally obviously the consumer must have given his consent to anticipate the start of the service.
The buyer who exercises the right of withdrawal has the right to a refund of the entire sum of the purchase. Any shipping costs must also be reimbursed if included in the price, while if they have been charged separately, and with the appropriate indication, they will not have to be reimbursed. However, the retailer cannot charge the buyer any additional charges (not even the bank costs for any payment). Only the shipping costs for returning the goods are charged to the buyer. The seller has 30 days to refund the buyer.
The withdrawal has already been delivered
In the event that the goods have already been delivered, the consumer is required to return them or make them available to the supplier (or the person designated by him), according to the methods and times provided for in the contract. These methods or times, however, cannot entail any penalties for the consumer. Therefore, the time limit cannot be less than ten days and the only mandatory condition is the substantial integrity of the goods (ie that it has been kept and possibly used with normal diligence). Basically, the right of withdrawal cannot be limited by contractual clauses imposed by the seller. For example, therefore, it is forbidden to impose conditions such as the identification of the asset, its return in the original packaging or without opening the packaging, the compilation of a particular form or the payment of administrative costs for handling the file.
The aforementioned decree also deals with so-called aggressive sales, protecting the consumer. Article 9 expressly mentions:“the consumer is not required to make any payment in the event of unsolicited supply. In any case, failure to reply does not mean consent". From this it follows that in the case of activation of unsolicited Internet services, the consumer is not required to pay any sum to the service provider. The sending of goods or the activation of services free of charge such as product or gift samples is possible, but under no circumstances can a payment be requested for this operation, not even in a deferred time, or restrictions are placed on the consumer . His silence at the request for payment is completely irrelevant. The same practice is to be considered valid in the case of a supply different from the one agreed or a faulty supply.
The obligation of this right
Sellers are obliged to strictly comply with this legislation and to mention it in every sale operation. In fact, the right of withdrawal is inalienable and any agreement in contrast with the provisions described is null and void. The penalties for those who do not comply with these obligations can reach up to 10,000 euros (without prejudice to further recourse to criminal justice if the extremes are used). For any dispute, the territorial jurisdiction is of the civil judge of the place of residence or domicile of the consumer, if located in the territory of the state.