The following article is divided into two parts: a short introduction to understand what this right consists of and why it exists, and a concise development to outline the implications of this for online shops or e-commerce.


Here is the little introduction:

  • What it is:

In short, it is the right to return what we buy online.

And in many words it is the right that we have as customers of an online shop or e-commerce to withdraw from the purchase made by returning the product or products received, either because of defects or for any other reason, since in both cases it is a return.

  • Why it exists:

This right is justified by the need to protect the consumer against purchasing operations in which not all the information on the product to be purchased is available to properly assess it, and therefore the consumer is protected against this situation with the possibility of regretting this purchasing decision after receiving the order.

And in fewer words, it is based on the uncertainty of every Internet user when buying online about the quality or suitability of the product, which justifies the right to return it if it is not what you expected, or if we regret this consumerist impulse.

From the legal point of view, it has specific regulations that support it: RDL 1/2007, of 16 November, which approves the revised text of the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users. Whose consultation we leave to your choice.


And here is the development to know how it affects e-commerce.


Firstly, the obvious: our customers have the right to return their order once it has been received, for whatever reason; and also to be compensated for the request to provide a service.

However, this refund follows a specific rule that e-commerce (or rather its manager) must specifically include in the terms of contract. This obligation to inform lies in the employer's desire to offer a good service and to have the customer's trust, as well as to avoid the administrative sanctions and even civil claims that may be incurred if it does not do so. Another point to bear in mind is that if they are not indicated, the period for return is extended to three months from the delivery of the order (much longer than the period marked if this obligation to inform is met, which is indicated below).

The information to be included is the following:

  • The number of calendar days for your exercise

    • It must be a minimum of 14 days (which can be extended but not reduced, as it is the regulations that set this minimum).

    • Please note that these are counted from the moment the order is delivered to the address given by the buyer.

    • And indicate that it is free of charge and will not involve any kind of penalty.

  • The way it should be exercised:

    • You should indicate if you need a specific way to do this, for example by accompanying some kind of document (indicating which and with what content), or sending an email to a specific address (indicating it) and the content of this.

    • A valid option is to include a form on the website (identifying it as such), detailing the minimum data for the return, such as the order number, date of purchase, etc.

    • It should be noted that the regulations governing this right do not cover these forms, as they provide for the mere fact of returning the order to the company's address as a valid exercise (art. 70 RDL). It is therefore necessary to include the address to which these returns must be made.

  • Period in calendar days in which the amount of the order will be refunded:

    • Indicate that the full amount will be refunded, including the price of the order plus the costs incurred e.g. for transport costs.

    • The maximum number of days is 14, counting from the communication of the exercise of this right by the consumer*. This maximum is set by law and can therefore be reduced but not extended. If this period is not met, the amount to be refunded will be double that paid, plus damages if any.

      • *If consumer choose to return the product without form (without the form or email of the previous point), it will be from the moment that the returned product/s is/are received at the indicated address. If it is a question of providing a service, it will be from the moment of receipt of the document notifying the exercise of this right.

  • Who will pay the return costs:

    • While the law indicates that it will be the consumer, it may be indicated otherwise to provide an added advantage and factor to the purchase in this e-commerce. It is another way to ingratiate yourself with the potential customer in the moments before the purchase.

  • Conditions under which the order must be placed:

    • It cannot be forced to be returned in its original packaging.

    • However, it is possible to indicate that if the product is not returned in its original packaging, and in the event that the product or products are damaged, this may cause a reduction in the amount returned and even the total loss of the amount paid. This means that no refund will be made due to the conditions in which the product has been returned.

Another consequence of the exercise of this right is associated with when the cause of the return is the deficiency or discrepancy between what was offered and what was received. In these cases, the e-commerce must pay all the expenses caused by the return to the buyer and proceed to replace the product or products by another of comparable quality and price. Thus, if the product arrives with a defect or does not correspond to what was offered, and therefore acquired, the burden of the costs arising from the exercise of this right will fall on the virtual shop.

But as with everything, there are exceptions. These include products that the law exempts from being returned, the main ones being:

  • Those with a short shelf life, such as food products.

  • Those that are personalised or made to measure.

  • Those that for health and hygiene reasons once opened cannot be returned.

  • Those that have been mixed with other products and cannot be separated due to their nature or composition.

  • Digital products without material support (such as computer programs, video and/or sound recordings, or files that can be downloaded or reproduced immediately), or with material support once it has been removed (a computer program purchased in physical form).

  • Daily supply products, such as press, publications or magazines.

  • Services already provided in their entirety


(*) Required fields 

For the attention of: (Company details)

  1. Name (*): _____________________________________________________

  2. Address (*): ___________________________________________________

  3. Telephone and/or fax number: _________________________________

  4. E-mail address: ________________________________________________

I/we hereby declare that I/we withdraw from the contract of

(Check the appropriate box*)

  • Sale of product/s

  • Provision of service(s)

  • Name of the product/service (*): _______________________________

  • Ordered on/Received on (*): (Date) ____________________________

  • In the name of: ________________________________________________

    • (Name(s) of the consumer(s))

  • With address at: _______________________________________________

    • (That of the consumer(s))

Written signature of the consumer(s):

(Only if presented on paper):


Date of sending the form:


Again, it should be noted that sending this is not a legal requirement for exercising the right of withdrawal; however, if it is indicated that the return must be accompanied by a text with certain information, then a model of this text must be included in the terms and conditions of contract (together with the other information already mentioned) and the mandatory information must be indicated (in the example, this is done with an asterisk (*)). The form chosen can be to directly include a link to download the form to be filled in (similar to the example shown), an example of the text with fictitious data, a list with the mandatory information to be sent (either in writing or via email), or all this at once.

For this reason, we emphasise once again the obligation to include the address to which this document must be sent, whether a physical address or an e-mail address, as well as the physical address to which the returned product(s) must be sent.

After all this content, we hope that we have helped to clarify what this right consists of and what consequences it has on online purchases, both for the consumer and for the entrepreneur responsible for an online shop. However, it would be best for everyone if there were no need to exercise this right because we are satisfied with our virtual purchases.

Thank you for reading us. See you next time.


ALERT: This article has been translated with automatic translation software so it may contain errors and inaccuracies. You can read the original article in this link: El Derecho de desistimiento online