Receiving a commercial proposal on the street or at home
European legislation obliges traders who approach you in places remote from their shop/store to provide you with specific information. Always check before signing something that you have received information on the following:
- the seller’s identity
- the content of your order
- the conditions associated with your purchase
- the obligation to pay
- the payment method
The seller must provide you with relevant accurate and comprehensible information. Have you confirmed your order? Then the seller must send you an order confirmation, which again details the above-mentioned information.
Always check that the seller’s website includes full contact data: trade name and business registration numbers, physical address and contact data (e-mail address, fax and/or phone numbers if available).
Why is this so important? To ensure that the trader is based in the European Union and that you are consequently protected by European legislation when making an off-premises purchase. Also to verify that the trader actually exists and can easily be contacted in the event of problems.
Content of your order
The seller must provide you with the following order information – before you place an order:
- the properties of the product or service
- the total price, including delivery and taxes
- the contract duration and termination conditions
- the delivery conditions such as delivery time or start of the service you have ordered and, where applicable, delivery limitations
Are you purchasing a digital product (i.e. an e-book, an app for a smartphone or tablet, an online game, music or a film)? The seller must provide information on the functionalities and compatibility of the most commonly used software and appliances.
The terms and conditions of sale
Similar to online vendors, door-to-door or street sellers are not obliged to apply general terms and conditions. They must, however, provide you with specific legal information, including:
- your right of withdrawal and the rules associated with executing this right (term, cost and method of return). The trader must also provide a standard cancellation form.
- the applicable legal guarantee and any additional commercial warranties.
- the alternative procedures you can resort to in the event of a dispute.
The contract start date
In Belgium, you are bound by a contract as soon as you accept the content of the sale (i.e. product or service) and relevant price. You don’t necessarily have to have paid to be bound by a contract made through a source other than a retail outlet.
Don’t pay on the spot if you buy something on the street or on your doorstep. Is the seller in question targeting the Belgian market? In that case, they have to observe a cooling off period of seven working days after concluding the contract before asking you for payment or a deposit.
Has the seven-day period expired? You still have seven more days during which to cancel, although the seller can ask for payment before this second period has elapsed.
Preferably use a credit card and avoid using debit cards or cash payments. This will give you better protection in the event of problems (fraud, no delivery, bankruptcy, etc.) as you can claim a repayment via your credit card issuer.
Would you like to cancel a purchase using your right to withdraw? Refer to our information in the section entitled "Cancelling an off-premises purchase".