Return of purchases over the Internet

Service Business

Online shopping is becoming more and more popular. Although they are no longer a novelty on the Polish and foreign market, the issue of returns may not be clear to everyone. Consumer law raises doubts, especially since the provisions on withdrawal from the contract in the case of online purchases differ from those applicable to stationary purchases.

Rights of consumers shopping online

The rights of Polish consumers are covered by the Act on consumer rights. The general rule is that consumers who shop online have more rights than those who buy from traditional stores.

Article 27 of the Act on consumer rights indicates that the consumer has 14 days to withdraw from the contract without giving reasons. For this purpose, he should submit a declaration of withdrawal from the contract and deliver it to the seller.

What is the difference between returning goods purchased in a stationary store and goods purchased online?

Consumers who purchased the product in a stationary store are not entitled to return their purchases without a defect. Very often, however, stores have internal regulations that allow the possibility of returning the goods intact, e.g. within 30 days of making the purchase. However, the seller is not obliged to return money for defective goods. If, however, the goods have a defect, the return can be made as part of a complaint under the warranty.

In the case of online purchases, the issue of returns is slightly different, as the consumer has the right to do so within 14 days of purchase after prior withdrawal from the contract.

Can the seller reduce the amount of the refund?

It may be puzzling whether the seller can reduce the amount to be returned. It turns out that it is. It is assumed that the seller must pay the customer the full amount, but only if there has been no reduction in the value of the goods resulting from the improper use of the items, i.e. other than necessary to establish the appearance, features and functionality of the product.

If, however, the consumer requests the service to be provided immediately, when the contract is withdrawn, the consumer must pay for the service fulfilled until the request for return of the goods without giving any reason.

Can used goods be returned?

Article 38 of the Consumer Rights Act discusses situations in which it will not be possible to return the goods to the e-shop. You cannot return goods that show signs of use in the form of damage or serious dirt. The goods can of course be unpacked and checked for suitability in the same way as if you purchased them in a brick-and-mortar store.

The online store cannot order the return of the goods in the original packaging, which is not the subject of a given sale, but only to protect the product. However, if possible, the purchased goods should be returned in the original packaging in which it was delivered to us.

What goods purchased online cannot be returned?

There are a number of products that cannot be returned if purchased online. These are primarily products specially personalized for the consumer, e.g. a watch with an engraving, products with a short expiry date, products that, after unpacking, are no longer suitable for further sale and a significant part of cosmetics or food. In addition, underwear or clothing that shows signs of being worn by the customer may not be returned. Products such as newspapers or computer software are also non-refundable. Often, it is also not possible to return tickets to the theater. It is also not possible to return CDs that have been stripped of the protective foil.

What does the return of online purchases look like?

The guidelines for the return of goods purchased via the Internet are regulated in the Act on consumer rights. The aforementioned legal act states that Polish consumers purchasing goods online may withdraw from a distance contract. At the same time, entrepreneurs are obliged to inform buyers about their rights. Most often they do it by publishing relevant regulations on the e-shop's website. When drawing up the regulations of the store, it should be remembered that its content does not violate the collective interests of the consumer. Otherwise, customers whose interests will be violated will be able to report the case to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK).

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A customer who wants to return goods purchased online should submit a declaration of withdrawal from the contract. This can be done by letter, e-mail or in any other way suggested by the store. Usually, however, on the website of the online store you can find a withdrawal form. The customer has the right to return the goods without giving any reason. However, it should be remembered that the goods may not be used in a way that goes beyond simply viewing or checking the goods.

The seller, on the other hand, has 14 days to return the money to the consumer from the moment of receiving the goods. He should also reimburse the costs for delivery, but it should be mentioned that the seller does not have to reimburse the same costs for the shipment that the consumer has chosen - he can return money equal to the amount for the cheapest available method of delivery. The customer receives the money in the same form in which the payment was made. As a rule, the cost of shipping is borne by the customer, but the seller can assume it.


The Act on consumer rights precisely regulates what rights e-shop customers are entitled to when they decide to return their purchases. Entrepreneurs who violate collective consumer interests in their actions may be held legally responsible by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.