Who bears the costs of returning and shipping the parcel?

Service

Withdrawal from the contract within 14 days is the right of consumers who have purchased the goods remotely or off-premises, for example via the Internet. The Consumer Rights Act gives you the option to cancel your purchase without giving any reason for the return. The seller is obliged to accept the returned goods and return the shipping costs. And who bears the cost of returning the goods if the shipment was free or the consumer bought three goods and returns one? In the following article, we discuss the costs of returning the goods and shipping costs in individual cases.

Withdrawal from the contract in the Consumer Act

Withdrawal from a distance contract and the costs of returning the goods are regulated by the Act on consumer rights in chapter three and four.

The provisions of the act stipulate that a consumer who concluded a distance contract (e.g. purchased goods online) has the right to return the parcel within 14 days. The seller is obliged to accept such goods and reimburse the shipping costs previously incurred by the consumer, if the buyer has chosen the cheapest possible way of delivering the goods. If the buyer has chosen a method of delivering the goods other than the cheapest offered by the seller, the entrepreneur reimburses the costs of delivering the ordered goods - up to the amount corresponding to the cheapest shipping option available in a given offer.

Example 1.

Mrs.Ewa ordered bedding online. The delivery methods offered by the seller are: courier for PLN 15 and Poczta Polska for PLN 10. Ewa chose a courier as the delivery method. The bedding, however, did not suit Ms Ewa, so she returned the goods within 14 days. What are the costs of returning the seller?

The seller must return to Ms Ewa the amount she paid for the bedding and PLN 10 for the shipment, because this is the cheapest shipping option offered by the seller.

When returning the goods, the consumer must bear the costs of shipping the goods to the seller.

Art. 12 sec. 1 point 10 of the Act reads: the seller must inform the consumer about the costs of returning the goods in the event of withdrawal from the contract, which are borne by the consumer; in relation to distance contracts - the costs of returning items, if, due to their nature, these items cannot be returned by regular mail.

Attention!
Pursuant to Art. 23 of the Act - the consumer bears the costs of shipping the goods to the seller only when the seller informed the buyer that these costs must be borne. If the seller has not provided this information, the costs of returning the parcel are borne by the seller.

The entrepreneur may provide information about the costs of shipping the goods, e.g. in the withdrawal form or in the regulations.

The consumer bears only the direct costs of returning the goods (e.g. packaging costs, postage for returning the parcel), unless the entrepreneur agreed to bear them or did not inform the consumer about the need to bear these costs.

Information on costs should be provided in a clear and understandable manner already at the stage of submitting a proposal to conclude a contract. The provision of this information after the consumer has submitted a declaration of withdrawal does not meet this requirement.

Example 2.

Mrs. Oliwia bought a set of cosmetics in the online store. The delivery methods offered by the seller are: courier for PLN 15 and Poczta Polska for PLN 10. Mrs. Oliwia chose mail as the method of delivery. In the regulations, the seller stated that in the event of withdrawal from the contract, the consumer bears the direct costs of shipping the goods to the seller.

The consumer decided to withdraw from the contract and return the goods. Who bears the shipping costs (from the store to the customer) of the ordered goods and the shipping costs of the returned goods to the seller?

The costs of shipping goods from the store to the customer are borne by the seller, who should return to Ms Oliwia the amount she paid for cosmetics and PLN 10 for shipping costs. However, Ms Oliwia should bear the costs of shipping the goods to the seller.

Example 3.

Mrs. Dorota bought a dress online. The delivery methods offered by the seller are: courier for PLN 15 and Poczta Polska for PLN 10. Dorota chose post as the delivery method. The seller has nowhere provided information that in the event of withdrawal from the contract, the consumer bears direct shipping costs.

Mrs. Dorota decided to withdraw from the distance contract and return the goods. Who bears the costs of shipping from the store to the customer and returning the goods to the store?

The costs of returning the goods are borne by the seller, who should return to Mrs. Dorota the amount she paid for the dress and PLN 10 for the shipping costs from the store to Mrs. Dorota. It is also the seller who bears the costs of shipping the goods back to him, because he did not inform the consumers that they had to bear the costs of returning the goods to the seller.

Return costs with free delivery

In the case of free delivery, the consumer does not bear the costs of shipping the ordered goods. This means that in the event of withdrawal from the contract, the seller is only obliged to refund the price that the consumer paid for the goods, i.e. he cannot deduct shipping costs.

Attention!
It is forbidden to write "If the returned goods were sent at our expense (free shipment or other promotion), the amount to be returned will be reduced by the shipping costs" - such a reservation was considered by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection as an illegal clause.

In addition, the free delivery offered by the seller should be treated as the cheapest usual way of delivering the goods. This means that when the entrepreneur offers free delivery and the consumer chooses a different, more expensive method of delivery, the seller is not obliged to reimburse the delivery costs in the event of withdrawal from the contract.

Example 4.

Ms. Dominika ordered office supplies for PLN 200 in the online store. The delivery methods offered by the seller are: courier for PLN 15, Poczta Polska for PLN 10 and free delivery (due to a large order). Ms. Dominika chose postal mail with a fee of PLN 10 as the delivery method. She decided to withdraw from the distance contract and return the goods. Who bears the costs of shipping and returning the goods?

The seller reimburses Ms Dominika for the amount she paid for office supplies, that is PLN 200. However, the seller is not obliged to reimburse the shipping costs, because Ms Dominika chose a method other than the cheapest possible delivery - in this case, delivery for PLN 0.

However, when it comes to the costs of shipping the returned goods to the seller, the provisions described in the second and third examples apply - i.e. if the entrepreneur informed about the need to bear the shipping costs of the returned goods - they are borne by the consumer. However, if the seller did not inform about such an obligation, the seller bears the burden of bearing the costs of shipping the returned goods.

Start a free 30-day trial period with no strings attached!

Return costs when the consumer returns one item from the package

Sometimes there are situations when a consumer purchases several products remotely and decides to return only one. There is no clear interpretation of what the costs of returning the goods should look like in this situation.

In commercial practice, the best solution (and lawful) makes the costs of returning the goods dependent on the method of determining the shipping price by the seller. If the seller sets the shipping price for the goods, he returns the proportional part, if the price is the same for a different number of goods - he is not obliged to reimburse the shipping costs.

Example 5.

Mrs. Emilia bought folders and binders online. The delivery methods offered by the seller are: courier for PLN 15, Polish Post for PLN 10 - and it is a fixed shipping fee, regardless of the number of ordered goods. Ms Emilia chose postal mail with a fee of PLN 10 as the delivery method. She decided to hand over the binders, leaving the folders for herself. What are the costs of shipping the returned goods for the seller?

In the above situation, the seller is not obliged to reimburse Ms Emilia for the shipping costs of the returned goods, because it is the same for one or more goods. One of the products was retained by Emilia - that is, she "partially withdrew from the contract".

If the seller for the delivery of one item charges a fee, e.g. PLN 5, and for the delivery of two items, charges e.g. PLN 10 (i.e. the consumer paid PLN 10 for the delivery of the item), the seller should refund the consumer PLN 5.

If the seller charges PLN 10 for the delivery of one item, and charges PLN 5 for the delivery of two items (i.e. the consumer paid PLN 5 for the delivery of the item), he is not obliged to reimburse the consumer for any costs.

We can also distinguish a situation where the consumer has purchased several products in order to get free delivery, and then returns only one of the goods or leaves one for himself and returns the rest. There are no clear regulations or judgments of courts or UOKiK regarding this issue.

In the above case, the consumer did not physically bear the delivery costs, but if he ordered only one product, such costs would be incurred.

Withdrawal from the contract before delivery of the goods

The consumer may submit a declaration of withdrawal from the contract also before receiving the goods. In such a situation, however, the entrepreneur - if he has already shipped the product ordered by the customer - has the option to charge him with the costs that the consumer would be obliged to bear in the event of withdrawal from the contract after receipt of the goods (withdrawal from the contract), i.e. for example the costs of shipping the goods to the seller.

Example 6.

Mrs. Magdalena ordered chairs from the online store. The delivery methods offered by the seller are: courier for PLN 15, Polish Post for PLN 10. Ms Magda chose to deliver the goods by mail and cash on delivery. When the postman delivered the goods to her, she decided not to pay and returned the goods to the seller, i.e. withdrew from the contract before receiving it. Who bears the cost of shipping the goods, i.e. sending the goods back to the store?

The costs of shipping the goods are borne by Mrs. Magda.