The European Consumer Rights Directive aims to enhance consumer protection. Its new Article 11a states that all online distance sales contracts must include a cancellation function. This should also be highlighted as a clearly labeled button. It must also be available on every store page for the entire duration of the right of withdrawal, i.e. for 14 days from the date of purchase for online purchases. The directive must be transposed into national law and will become binding in the EU-countries from 19 June 2026.
Online shop operators are poised to face significant challenges in complying with this new requirement. Firstly, the cancellation button's design must stand out and be consistently available across all pages. This can e.g. be done by the implementation of a pop-up window.
In addition, the button must remain accessible throughout the entire period in which customers have a right of withdrawal - regardless of whether they are logged in or not. Complications also arise in accessing orders placed without a customer account, as these too must be eligible for cancellation.
Determining the nature of a purchase—whether it was made online or in-store—also complicates matters since it influences the customer's cancellation rights. For in-store orders and online orders that customers collect in person, the right of withdrawal does not apply. Customers may return a purchase if the retailer has granted such a right; there is no general statutory right of return beyond this. MS