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Different revocation instructions for different products are permissible

An Internet store fulfills its obligation to provide proper cancellation instructions even if the corresponding hyperlink leads to two different cancellation instructions for the purchase of goods not suitable for parcel delivery (forwarding goods) and for the purchase of goods suitable for parcel delivery (standard goods). This was decided by the 6th Civil Senate of the Cologne Higher Regional Court in its ruling of April 23, 2021 – 6 U 149/20.

An association fighting against unfair competition in accordance with its articles of association had filed a claim against a company operating an Internet store for wooden play equipment for outdoor use, cribs and mattresses for injunctive relief due to anti-competitive advertising because the consumer was not informed about his right of withdrawal in accordance with the statutory requirements.

The consumer does not know before the conclusion of the contract how the goods ordered by him will be shipped. The revocation instructions for so-called standard and forwarding goods differed in the regulations on returns. Whereas in the case of so-called forwarding goods, the company was to collect the goods and bear the costs, in the case of so-called standard goods, it was stipulated that the consumer was to bear the costs of the return shipment.

In its judgment of November 27, 2020 (Case No. 42 O 38/20), the Regional Court of Aachen rejected a corresponding claim for injunctive relief and dismissed the action.

The Senate endorsed this view in its judgment and dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal against the judgment of the Regional Court.

In justification, he essentially stated that the defendant’s revocation instructions complied with the statutory requirements. The defendant informs that the consumer has to bear the costs for a return of the goods by mail, but in the case of forwarded goods the consumer bears the costs for the return himself. The fact that “goods which cannot be sent by parcel post (forwarding goods)” means goods which, due to their goods which, due to their nature, could not be returned by normal mail, was readily apparent to the average informed consumer.

The entrepreneur does not have to inform about the amount of the costs incurred when returning the goods by normal mail. Information on the amount of the costs if the goods cannot be returned by normal mail due to their nature is not required if the entrepreneur – as in this case – bears these costs himself.

The Senate did not allow the appeal.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.

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