The withdrawal button is coming

Consumers can conclude contracts quickly and easily online. In future, this will also apply to exercising the right of withdrawal. The withdrawal button is being created for this purpose. The EU is setting new requirements for online stores.

In November, the new Directive (EU) 2023/2673 was published in the Official Journal of the EU. The core objective of this directive is to integrate the regulations on distance contracts for financial services into the Consumer Rights Directive.

However, it also adapts the general right of withdrawal. Consumers will have a new opportunity to exercise their right of withdrawal.

NEW WITHDRAWAL FUNCTION

A withdrawal function – as stated in the directive – will take consumers to a page where they can enter several details and then send their withdrawal.

The term “withdrawal button” has already become established in reference to the German cancelation button from Section 312k BGB.

PRECISE SPECIFICATIONS FOR LABELING

The withdrawal button must be labeled with the words “withdraw from contract here” or an unambiguous corresponding formulation in an easily legible way. The button with which the withdrawal statement is then sent must be labeled with the words “confirm withdrawal” or with an unambiguous corresponding formulation.

Once the consumer activates the confirmation function, the trader shall send to the consumer an acknowledgement of receipt of the withdrawal on a durable medium, including its content and the date and time of its submission, without undue delay.

NUMEROUS UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE REVOCATION BUTTON

When creating the new regulations, the EU legislator unfortunately opted for a very complex regulatory regime. As a result, there are still many unanswered questions about how the revocation button should be implemented in practice.

For example, it is unclear for which contracts the withdrawal button must be offered in future. What is certain is that the button does not have to be provided for orders received by post, fax or telephone. In online stores, however, it must be embedded.

But what about orders placed by email, WhatsApp or similar means of communication?

The new function must also be “prominently displayed” on the website. How exactly this is to be implemented will probably have to be clarified by the courts. Simply including a link in the list of links in the footer of the website next to “Imprint” and “Privacy policy” is unlikely to be sufficient.

If there also has to be a cancel button on the website and the consumer wants to withdrawal but accidentally uses the cancel function, the meaning of this statement will also have to be clarified. Can the function clearly labeled as cancellation be subsequently reinterpreted as withdrawal?

These and other questions are currently still unanswered. It is to be expected that a number of court cases will first have to be conducted after the introduction of the withdrawal button in order to create legal certainty for companies.

ADAPTATION OF THE WITHDRAWAL POLICY

In addition to the technical implementation in the online store, the information concerning the exercise of the right of withdrawal must also be adapted. The statutory model withdrawal policy will be amended for this purpose.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW REQUIREMENTS

The member states still have to transpose the requirements of the directive into national law. The new legal regulations must be enacted and published by December 19, 2025. These will then apply from June 19, 2026.

CONCLUSION

It remains to be seen how the memberstates will transpose the European requirements into national law. But there is still some time until then. We will keep you up to date.

We have presented the new regulations in detail for you on versandhandelsrecht.de (only in German).

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