Unfortunately this year again there will be some people pulling a long face because of disliked Christmas presents. However, this is not a problem given that an ever increasing number of people order their presents over the Internet. Presents ordered online may be particularly easily returned, says the German Association for Information Management, Telecommunications and New Media (BITCOM) giving tips on what to bear in mind in this respect:
In contrast to over-the-counter deals, there is virtually always a right of return for purchases made over the internet. The following aspects should be taken into account:
1. Observe relevant terms:
Once the merchandise is delivered, there normally is a 14-days period during which it may be returned. During this period the buyer is entitled to cancel the buying contract. If the merchandise comes from other EU member states, this period might be shorter, but is at least one week. In Germany merchants have to inform their customers on the right of return prior to a deal. Otherwise the period in question will be prolonged.
2. Do not give reasons:
For returning the presents just send them back without any explanation.
3. Postage has to be prepaid:
Most online shops require prepaid returns. The postage will be refunded, if the item in question amounted to more than 40 Euros. There is one exception: if the item has not been paid yet, the buyer may be left with the return postage. Anyway, it is recommended not to economize on postage: an insured parcel is the better alternative in order to avoid trouble in cases where it gets lost on its way back to the merchant.
4. Have heavy goods picked up:
Big television sets, bicycles or furniture do not have to be transported to the post office by the buyer himself. Therefore, with regard to any item which did not arrive as an ordinary parcel you are entitled of sending for the merchant to pick it up. It is recommended that you arrange in writing for the merchandise to be picked up, preferably by a registered letter. Thus, misunderstandings as to whether the buyer has observed the period of return can be avoided.
5. Read the small print:
In their general terms and conditions merchants quite often offer more than is required by law. Thus, some shops provide free-of-charge collection. Others wish to be informed by mail or phone. For these reasons it is worth reading the small print on the order documents which is not always to the disadvantage of customers.