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Consumer rights: purchases and warranty in the Netherlands

Consumer rights: purchases and warranty in the Netherlands

Consumer rights: purchases and warranty in the Netherlands

What are your rights when you purchase a product in a shop? And what about when you purchase a product online or via the phone?

What is Consumentenkoop

A consumentenkoop is a purchase made from a seller by a consumer. This can be a purchase in either a physical or an online shop. This purchase is an oral or written agreement between the consumer and the seller, which comes with rights and obligations for both parties. The consumer is obliged to pay the agreed-upon price and the seller must supply the consumer with a functioning product. In this case, that means that the product needs to meet all the requirements that the consumer may set for it in normal use for a certain period of time. This is what’s called a warranty.

Online & telephone purchases in the Netherlands

If you have purchased something online or via the phone (koop op afstand or remote purchase), you will have a statutory cooling-off period of 14 days, as you have not physically seen the product before your purchase. This means that if you regret your purchase, you can cancel it within these 14 days without giving any reason. This rule applies to both products and services, such as online Dutch language courses. Of course, there are exceptions.

Exceptions

The 14-day cooling-off period does not apply to the following:

  • Travel, transport, accommodation (such as short-stay rentals), catering, or other forms of leisure activities
  • Single magazines or newspapers
  • Commissioned products
  • Products that may spoil, such as food or flowers
  • Products that you cannot send back because of hygienic reasons (underwear, swimwear)
  • A remote order from a company that does not focus on distance selling
  • CDs and DVDs that have been unsealed after delivery
  • Emergency repairs

During the 14-day cooling-off period, you may evaluate the product, but you can’t use the product if you are not sure you are going to keep it. For example, you may try on the clothes you bought to see if they fit, but you can’t wear them for days and then send them back. The seller may charge a fee if it appears you have used the product instead of just assessing it.

Subscriptions & memberships in the Netherlands

A subscription may be automatically renewed, but only if you can cancel per month after the first period. This first period is often a year long. It’s also important to always have proof of your cancellation. This applies to, amongst other things, subscriptions and memberships to magazines, book clubs and gyms.

You are allowed to cancel a subscription in the same way you started it. For example, if you subscribed via the phone, you are allowed to cancel via the phone.

Trial subscriptions to newspapers and magazines may not be renewed without your explicit permission and should automatically stop after the agreed trial period.

The aforementioned rules do not apply to memberships to associations / clubs and insurances. Note: the rules do apply to products offered by an association / club, such as a club magazine.

Regret of purchase

What can you do when you regret your purchase? If you have bought something in a shop, you can try and work things out with the seller. If you buy something online, via the phone or at your door, a 14-day cooling-off period applies. To be able to exchange or return something in a shop is not a right but an extra service. Often conditions will apply, for example, return within a certain number of days etc. Note, if your purchase is faulty, this does not apply.

Also, be aware that a purchase agreement can be made orally (i.e. when you’ve said you will buy something) or in writing (i.e. when you sign an order). Many people think that a purchase agreement is made when they have paid for the purchase, but this is not the case.

Deception and aggressive selling

Did the seller withhold relevant information about a product or service or were you pressured into buying a product? You can undo your purchase. Write to the seller and indicate that you want to cancel your purchase due to unfair trading practices (oneerlijke handelspraktijk) and that you want your money back.

The Autoriteit Consumenten & Markt (ACM) and the Autoriteit Financiele Markten (AFM) supervise the enforcement of the Unfair Trading Practices Act (Wet Oneerlijke Handelspraktijken). You can report fraudulent companies to ACM ConsuWijzer. Your report will help them see which companies are not following the rules and if / when further steps are required.

Bankruptcy

Did you order a product and the company has gone bankrupt? If you made a deposit, contact the curator. The curator can tell you whether your order will still be delivered or whether you will need to register as a creditor. Please note that the chance you will get your money back is slim, as consumers are last in line to be paid back (certain parties, like the Dutch government or banks, have priority).

If you have not paid yet, postpone payment. Only pay when the curator has stated your order will be delivered, or better yet, when you have received the product.

Warranty and repairs in the Netherlands

What can you do when your purchase breaks? What’s the deal with warranty?

Within the warranty period

When you buy something, you are entitled to a functioning product. If the product stops functioning within 6 months of the purchase, the law assumes that it was faulty at the time of purchase. This means you will be entitled to a free repair or replacement product unless the seller can prove you did not use the product correctly.

Some companies offer longer warranty periods as an extra. Please note that if a product is replaced during the warranty period, the warranty period is not rebooted. For example, if you buy a laptop with a 2-year warranty and it is replaced after one year, you will have a one-year warranty left on the replacement.

Outside warranty

Even after the warranty period of the store or manufacturer, you may still be entitled to a free repair or replacement product. This is your legal right to a functioning product. In this case, you must be able to demonstrate that it was not your fault the product stopped functioning as intended.

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