Distance selling to consumers (B2C)

This page was last modified on 01-02-2018

Distance selling does generally not give the buyer the opportunity to physically examine the goods before purchasing them. They are therefore not in a position to assess the precise quality or content of the goods.

For this reason, the professional is under the obligation to the consumer to:

  • provide certain mandatory information;
  • provide the goods or services purchased within 30 days of the order;
  • grant a right of withdrawal of no less than 14 calendar days without penalty and without giving any reason.

In the event of a dispute, consumers can contact:

Forms / Online services

Carry out your procedure:

Who is concerned

Companies concerned

The provisions relating to distance selling to consumers apply to all contracts concluded between a professional, regardless of their occupation (retail, industrial, craft or liberal profession), and a consumer in the context of distance selling or provision of services, i.e. without the simultaneous physical presence of the professional and the consumer when negotiating and finalising the contract.

This may involve contracts entered into:

  • by phone;
  • by fax;
  • by post (Example: via a mail order catalog);
  • on the Internet (Example: sale on an e-commerce platform).

Types of contracts concerned

The following obligations are intended for professionals in the context of contracts concluded solely with consumers (B2C), as follows:

  • distance selling or provision of services, i.e. contracts for which the order and delivery are executed remotely without the consumer being in physical contact with the professional at any time.
    Examples: the supply and hosting of IT installations, provision and updating of software, lawful downloading of images, documents and cultural products (ebooks, music, films, etc.);
  • distance contracts with physical delivery or service provision.
    Examples: online retail websites (clothes, shoes, etc.), online booking services (plane/train tickets, concert tickets, car rental, etc.) with receipt of the goods by the consumer in person.

Types of contracts not concerned

Obligations in respect of distance contracts concluded with consumers do not apply to:

  • financial services covered by other specific regulations (banking, credit, insurance, personal pensions, etc.);
  • contracts concluded with telecoms operators by means of calls made from a public telephone box;
  • contracts which must be concluded before a notary (e.g. property transactions, auction sales, etc.);
  • contracts pertaining to the construction of new buildings, major works on existing buildings or property rental for residential purposes;
  • contracts pertaining to gambling and which involve betting on games of chance (lotteries, casino games, betting-related transactions);
  • contracts pertaining to package tours;
  • sales through automatic vending machines;

How to proceed

Preliminary information to be provided by the professional

Before entering any contract with the consumer, the professional must clearly indicate:

  • the identity, telephone number and address of its business and, if it is not the same, the address of its registered office to which consumers may send complaints;
  • the main characteristics of the goods or services;
  • the price of the goods or services, including all taxes.
    If the price cannot be calculated beforehand, the supplier must indicate the method used to calculate the price in order to enable the consumer to check it;
  • any additional costs for transportation, delivery or postage that are added to the price.
    If such additional costs cannot be calculated beforehand, the professional must indicate that they may be due;
  • the date on which the professional undertakes to deliver the goods or provide the services;
  • the terms of payment, delivery or execution;
  • information about the right of withdrawal and, where applicable, if the return shipment costs are to be borne by the consumer if they exercise their right of withdrawal;
  • if there is no right of withdrawal, information as to consumers not being so entitled or, where applicable, the circumstances in which consumers lose their right of withdrawal;
  • a reference to the existence of a legal guarantee of conformity for the goods;
  • information about any after-sales service or after-sales support and existing commercial guarantees;
  • the terms of cancellation of the contract if it is of indefinite term or automatically renewable;
  • where applicable, the existence of any deposit or other financial guarantees to be provided by the consumer on request by the professional, and the related terms and conditions.

This information must be provided by the professional in an appropriate form for the remote communication method used.

Example: general terms and conditions of sale that can be downloaded from the professional's website.

Professionals who do not respect their obligation of information can be punished with a fine.

Contracts concluded by electronic means

If the contract is concluded by electronic means and it requires the consumer to pay, the professional must inform the consumer accordingly in a clear and comprehensible manner, and must do so before the consumer places the order.

Example:

At the time the order is placed, the consumer must be fully aware that this involves an obligation to pay. Consequently, the consumer must agree to any explicit statement referring to such an obligation to pay. For example, if the consumer must use a button or a similar function to place an order, the button or this similar function must contain the easily readable wording "order with obligation to pay" or similar wording indicating that the act of placing an order obliges the consumer to pay the professional. Such wording must be devoid of any ambiguity.

Where applicable, at the beginning of the order process at the latest, e-commerce websites must clearly indicate that delivery restrictions apply and which payment methods are accepted.

Contracts concluded by telephone

In cases where the professional contacts the consumer by telephone for the purpose of distance selling, the professional must make explicit reference to their identity and the commercial purpose of the call at the beginning of the conversation with the consumer.

The professional must also:

  • provide information and confirm the offer given to the consumer in writing or by using any other durable means. He also must confirm the contract, including the information previously provided, before the execution of the provision of service, and at the latest when the delivery takes place (unless already provided in writing or on any other durable means before concluding the contract);
  • and indicate the terms and conditions of the right of withdrawal in writing and in a clear, comprehensive and unequivocal fashion.

The consumer is only bound by the offer after having signed and accepted it in writing.

In case of dispute concerning the existence or content of the information provided, the burden of proof rests with the professional.

Entering a contract

Entering a distance contract

If the consumer decides to enter a contract, the professional must provide them with all of the mandatory information, using a method suited to the communication method used.

The professional must provide the consumer with a confirmation that the contract concluded a durable medium (paper, USB stick, etc.) unless he has already transmitted that information on such a medium before the contract was concluded.

The professional must do so within a reasonable period of time and at the latest when the item is delivered or before the service is performed.

If the contract relates to the supply of digital content that was not provided on a material support, performance has begun with the consumer's express prior consent, and the consumer has acknowledged loss of their right to withdraw, the professional must also send the consumer these 2 confirmations on a durable medium within a reasonable period of time.

If the contract is entered into by phone, the consumer is only bound by the offer after having signed and accepted it in writing.

Professional who do not fulfill their obligations can be punished with a fine.

The professional is responsible for providing proof of the existence and content of pre-contractual information, confirmation of the contract, compliance with the terms of delivery or terms of performance, and consumer consent. If a clause in the contract states otherwise, it will be considered unfair, and will thus not apply.

In the event that one or more essential information obligations are not fulfilled, only the consumer may invoke the nullity of the contract.

As a general rule, the consumer also has a right to withdraw if they change their opinion about entering the contract.

Entering an off-premises contract

Before concluding the contract, the professional must provide the consumer with all necessary mandatory information on paper or on another durable medium.. The information must be legible and have been drafted in clear and comprehensible language.

The professional must provide the consumer with a copy of the signed contract or confirmation of the contract on paper or another durable medium.

The professional must do so within a reasonable period of time and at the latest when the item is delivered or before the service is performed.

If the contract relates to the supply of digital content that was not provided on a material support, performance has begun with the consumer's express prior consent, and the consumer has acknowledged loss of their right to withdraw, the professional must also send the consumer these 2 confirmations on a durable medium within a reasonable period of time.

The professional is responsible for providing proof of the existence and content of pre-contractual information, confirmation of the contract, compliance with the terms of delivery or terms of performance, and consumer consent. If a clause in the contract states otherwise, it will be considered unfair, and will thus not apply.

In the event that one or more essential information obligations are not fulfilled, only the consumer may invoke the nullity of the contract.

As a general rule, the consumer also has a right to withdraw if they change their opinion about entering the contract.

Professionals who do not fulfill their obligations can be punished with a fine.

Execution and cancellation of the order

Unless otherwise stipulated, the professional must execute the order within 30 days of the day following the consumer placing their order.

If the professional does not deliver the item within the set period, the consumer may demand that they deliver the item within an additional time limit that has been adapted to the circumstances. This claim can take the form of:

  • a registered letter with or without proof of receipt;
  • a simple letter
  • fax;
  • a notification in person or through a phone call.

For reasons of proof, the existence of a trace in writing is preferable.

If the professional still does not deliver the item within this additional period, the consumer may terminate the contract.

There is no need to issue a letter urging for the delivery of the item, with the granting of an additional time limit, before terminating the contract, when:

  • the professional has refused to deliver the item, or;
  • delivery within the delivery period is essential given the circumstances surrounding the signing of the contract, or;
  • the consumer has informed the professional, before entering the contract, that delivery on or by a specific date is essential (e.g. a wedding dress).

The consumer must then be reimbursed without delay for any costs they may have incurred. If the reimbursement is not made within a period assessed on a case by case basis, interest at the legal rate shall be added to the amount outstanding to be reimbursed.


In the event of a dispute concerning the deadline for carrying out the order, the burden of proof rests with the professional.

Right of withdrawal

For any distance contract, the consumer has a right of withdrawal for a period of no less than 14 working days without penalty and without giving any reason.

If the professional has not informed the consumer regarding the right of withdrawal, the deadline is increased by 12 months with effect from the end of the original withdrawal deadline (i.e. from the 15th day) and all costs arising from the withdrawal (e.g. the return of the goods, depreciation of the goods) shall be borne by the professional.

Deadlines are valid:

  • for services, with effect from the date of conclusion of the contract;
  • for goods, with effect from the day on which the consumer or a third party appointed by the consumer takes physical possession of the goods.
In the case of ordering multiple goods or batches in a single order to be delivered separately, the consumer may withdraw with effect from the day on which they or a third party take physical delivery of the final consignment of the goods.

Professionals who do not respect their obligations regarding the consumer's right of withdrawal can be punished with a fine.

Withdrawal in the case of contracts for the delivery of goods

During the withdrawal period, the consumer can notify the professional that they are exercising their right to withdraw (preferably in writing and by registered letter in order to be able to prove compliance with the withdrawal deadline or on any other durable medium).

They must then return the goods at their cost to the supplier within a period of 14 days of such notification.

The professional must then reimburse the amount paid by the consumer (including, if applicable, the delivery charges) using the same payment method as that used in the original transaction. The professional can do this within a period of 14 days from the day after being informed of the consumer's decision to withdraw from the contract.

With effect from the first day following the expiry of this period, the amount due is automatically increased by the legal interest rate in force.

Unless otherwise stipulated, the consumer cannot exercise their right of withdrawal when purchasing:
  • goods whose price is dependent on fluctuating financial market rates that the professional cannot control;
  • goods specifically manufactured to the consumer's specifications, that are clearly personalised, which by their nature cannot be returned or are likely to rapidly deteriorate or expire;
  • audio or video recordings or computer software that have been downloaded or where the packaging has been opened by the consumer;
  • newspapers, periodical publications and magazines (except subscriptions to such publications);
  • bets and lotteries;
  • goods purchased at a public auction;
  • sealed goods that cannot be returned for reasons of health or hygiene protection and that have been unsealed by the consumer after delivery;
  • goods which, after having been delivered, and by their nature, are inextricably combined with other items.

Withdrawal in the case of contracts for the provision of services

During the withdrawal period, the consumer can notify the professional (preferably in writing and by registered letter in order to be able to prove compliance with the withdrawal deadline or on any other durable medium) that they are exercising their right to withdraw.

The professional must in this case reimburse any amount paid by the consumer within 14 days of being notified by the consumer of their decision to withdraw from the contract.

The consumer cannot exercise their right of withdrawal if they have purchased contracts for services:

  • the execution of which has begun with the consumer's consent and on condition that the consumer has acknowledged that they will lose their right of withdrawal once the contract has been executed by the professional in full;
  • whose price is dependent on fluctuating financial market rates that the professional cannot control;
  • for accommodation, transportation of goods, car rental, catering or related to leisure activities, if the contract stipulates a specific date or period of execution;
  • for which the consumer has expressly requested that the professional visits them in order to carry out urgent maintenance or repair work.

Withdrawal procedure

To notify the professional that they wish to withdraw from the contract, consumers can:

  • either use the withdrawal form template, which the professional must provide to the consumer;
  • or make another declaration clearly setting out their decision to withdraw from the contract.
The professional may also give the consumer the option of completing and sending the withdrawal request online using the professional's website.

Provision of goods or services not requested

If the professional provides the consumer services when the consumer has not ordered them, the latter is not required to pay for that merchandise or service.

Likewise, a consumer's failure to respond to the delivery or performance does not indicate their agreement. Clauses on the invoice accompanying the good or service which state something to the effect of 'unless you state otherwise, we consider you to agree with our offer' have no value.

Take care not to confuse the provision of goods or services that have not been requested with the renewal of a tacit agreement.

The professional is responsible for proving that the consumer has ordered the delivery of a good or the provision of a service.

The professional cannot demand any service in return from the consumer, nor the return of the goods or their conservation, under pain of being punished by a fine of up to EUR 120,000.

Disputes

In the event of a dispute, consumers can obtain information and assistance from:

  • the Union luxembourgeoise des Consommateurs (ULC - Luxembourg Consumers' Association) in the case of a dispute between an end consumer and a professional supplier of goods and/or services (vendors, distributors, entrepreneurs, insurance companies, banks and other service providers) in Luxembourg;
  • the European Consumer Centre (ECC Luxembourg) in the case of a cross-border consumer dispute, namely a dispute between a private end consumer and a business located in another country of the European Union.

Who to contact

55, rue des Bruyères
L-1274 - Howald
Luxembourg
Phone: (+352) 49 60 22-1
Fax: (+352) 49 49 57
Email info@ulc.lu

Opening hours
Legal advice: Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 12.00 without appointment / in the afternoon only with appointment
2A, rue Kalchesbrück
L-1852 - Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Phone: (+352) 26 84 64-1
Fax: (+352) 26 84 57 61
Email info@cecluxembourg.lu

Opening hours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 09.00 to 16.00 / Wednesday from 09.00 to 13.00