Buying over the internet is a convenient form of purchasing an ever-increasing variety of goods and services. It can be even more convenient for non-Spanish residents who are unable to find a supplier of products or services they need in their local area in Spain. Of course, while many have a trouble-free experience, it is not always so and the question arises as to what we can do to remedy the situation in such circumstances.
Returning Goods Bought in Spain over the Internet
The rights of consumers are generally covered by legislation enacted in 2007 – specifically Ley 1/2007.
The first thing to be aware of is that there is a general right to return any item purchased over the internet within a period of seven days. It should be noted however that this may be subject to charges incurred in carrying out the return of the product as well as any costs to repair or repackage the product owing to the actions of the customer.
This right is also not applicable with regard to:
1) Goods specially personalised for the customer
2) Items such as stocks or shares or rights to purchase that fluctuate in value
3) Services which start within seven working days having been agreed by the service provider and the customer
4) Computer programs etc that have been opened
5) Press Publications
6) Lottery type products
7) Items relating to personal hygiene
Upon returning the purchase within seven days, the customer must receive the return of monies spent on the purchase within thirty days. Failure to do so gives the customer the right to claim double the amount originally spent as well as claim for damages.
Furthermore, failure to deliver a product purchased within thirty days of the order being communicated gives rise to the right to claim the return of money within 30 days with similar penalties for the seller upon failure to do so.
A trader may offer a similar or superior product in place of the one ordered if the product ordered is not in stock, however this must receive the agreement of the customer to accept the alternative product and there may be no price increase.
Companies Responsibilities when offering products or services for sale by internet
Even before entering into a contract with a customer, a company that offers products or services for sale over the internet has the following obligations:
1) The registered company name and address must be displayed
2) The principal characteristics of the products or services offered must be stated clearly
3) The price, form of payment as well as delivery charges must be displayed
4) The period of time for which the price is valid as well as any minimum time limits on a contract being binding
5) The seller must advise the customer of the address to which any complaints should be directed.
For any consumer who wishes to make a complaint against a company that is based in Spain, they should go in the first instance to the following body: Dirección General de Consumo de su Comunidad Autónoma
If the company is based in another European Company then it is also possible to get help via European Centre for Consumers