European Consumer Centre

Are you experiencing troubles with any EU, Norway or Iceland vendor?


FAQ – online shopping

Is it safe to pay online? What is the guaranty period when shopping in e-shop seated in another EU country? How long is the cooling-off period when I want to withdraw from the contract without giving any reason and sanction? Who covers delivery costs in case of withdrawal or claim? Is it enough to send claimed goods by mail? What are my rights when shopping on auction websites?

How to be safe on the internet

Online payments

Withdrawal from the contract

Guaranty and Complaints


How to be safe on the internet

Is it safe to shop online from abroad?
It is worth being cautious when you shop both from Czech and foreign e-shops. Generally, if you buy something from a trader from another EU Member State, your rights are the same or very similar to your rights when you shop in the Czech Republic. You should always check the credibility of the respective trader beforehand.

What should I look out for if I consider purchasing in a particular e-shop?
The risk of fraud cannot be completely ruled out. However, if you are careful when shopping online, you can very significantly reduce the risk. Low price is not everything. If the price is too low, there is a reason to raise caution. Before you buy, keep in mind that a website can be created by anyone in a minute. So, it is worth trying to check credibility of a trader before the purchase. You can for example simply type the name of the respective e-shop in a search engine and find out about other users’ experience with the respective trader. You should find the e-shop’s operator on the website before the purchase and if possible, check the business register of the trader’s national state to see whether the entrepreneur is registered or not. You can also check the respective e-shop’s domain name (internet address) and you should be careful in case that the address was registered recently. Search for so called trustmarks when deciding about purchases. The trustmarks can be awarded to shops by consumer organizations or associations of entrepreneurs.

What information does an online vendor have to provide me with before the purchase?
The trader is obliged to inform about his/her identity, elementary characteristics of goods or services, prices of goods, including all taxes, potential transport costs and about your right to withdraw from the contract (return of goods) without giving any reason during the cooling-off period.

Online payments

Is it safe to pay on the internet?
If you follow elementary safety rules, payments on the internet will be safe. If you pay for goods before delivery, it is very important to verify trustworthiness of the merchant. In case of doubts, you should choose a different store. When you pay by credit card, always follow the safety instructions of your bank. Enter the card number only in secure connection and never submit the card number and PIN code together.

Are some payment methods safer than others?
What if the trader does not deliver goods before payment? Payment for goods by credit or debit cards can provide increased protection to a customer in case that goods are not delivered. This also applies to certain payment systems (e.g. Paypal). If you paid goods by a credit card and goods were not delivered, you can contact your bank and ask for refund through the so-called chargeback procedure. In Czech law there is no legal claim against the bank for the implementation of chargeback but banks usually are fair and they would refund the amount paid based on the rules of card associations.

Law of which country is applied when I buy in an e-shop based in another EU country?
If the activities of the particular trader are carried out in the member state of usual residence of the consumer or the trader focuses on the state of the consumer in any way, the contract will generally be governed by the law of the state of the consumer’s usual residence. So, ordinarily the contracts concluded with Czech consumers will be governed by Czech law and the rules will be the same as if the consumer shopped in a domestic e-shop. In cases when the contract is governed by the law of another EU Member State, your consumer rights will be the same as in the Czech Republic or at least very similar.

Withdrawal from the contract

I bought goods in an e-shop based in another EU country. How many days do I have to withdraw from the contract without giving any reason and without sanctions?
You have 14 days to withdraw from the contract without giving any reason.

Within the cooling-off period, can I withdraw from the contract concluded on any product or service through the internet?
No. There are a few exceptions from the right to withdraw from the contract without giving any reason. Firstly, this right does not apply to supplies of for personalised or ‘tailor-made’ goods customized according to consumer’s specifications and contracts for services in case that the provision of services began with consumer’s agreement before the end of the withdrawal period. The exception also applies for example for audio or video recordings or computer software unsealed after delivery. The exception also applies to accommodation, transport and entertainment services provided on a specific date or time period or for delivery of newspapers and magazines as well as goods or services the price of which depends on fluctuations in financial markets.

Who pays the delivery costs when I want to return the goods without giving any reason?
You pay the delivery costs for sending the goods to the trader when you withdraw without giving any reason.

Does the e-shop reimburse costs paid by me for delivery of goods from the merchant to me when I want to withdraw from the contract in the cooling-off period?
Yes. In compliance with the decision of the Court of Justice of the EU the e-shop is obliged to return the delivery costs that were paid for transportation of the product to the customer.

I withdrew from the contract without giving any reason, but the e-shop did not reimburse the whole amount paid. Can they do that?
Seller shall be entitled for compensation of real costs connected with returning of the goods or the consumer must be reimbursed the full amount. The real costs can concern for example costs for cleaning of the returned goods. Such amount cannot be fixed beforehand, but it always must be real objective costs.

Guaranty and Complaints

What is the guaranty when shopping online in another EU country?
There is a 2-year guaranty as in the Czech Republic. This applies, when a respective e-shop focuses on selling to the Czech Republic. Even if the contract is governed by law of another EU Member State, you can be confident that the goods always must be in conformity with the contract of purchase as stipulated in the European Directive on guarantees. You can make a complaint at any time within the 2 years of the guaranty period. However, certain guaranty rules can differ in some aspects from the Czech law.

Do I have to bring claimed goods to a foreign seller personally or is it enough to send claimed goods by mail?
It is enough to send it by mail, preferably by registered mail to another EU country, Iceland or Norway. It is wise to keep the receipt.

Who pays the delivery costs and general transport costs in case that I claim goods bought online?
Trader pays the costs of transporting goods if the claim is legitimate. The seller is obliged to pay the lowest necessary costs.

Do my rights differ when I want to buy goods on auction portals (for example e-bay)?
Yes, this can be the case. On such websites, people often don’t purchase from professional traders but from non-commercial persons. Generally, if there is a relation between two non-commercial persons, you don’t have the right to withdraw from the contract without giving any reason and there is no automatic statutory guaranty on purchased goods. The contract will also be governed by national law of the state of seller’s residence unless agreed otherwise. On auction portals, however, you can see offers from commercial entities and in such cases you have the same rights as when shopping in an ordinary e-shop.

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