The video game console, which was found in Germany and supposed to be a birthday present, did not arrive in time. Perfume from France does not resemble the name and appearance of that posted on the website. Moreover, imported from Italy bike has problems with derailleurs. How should customers from Poland react when online shopping in one of the EU countries disappoints our expectations?
A wider selection of goods, quicker access to news, unreachable models in Poland, a belief in higher quality products, and sometimes lower prices - although buyers' motives differ, they are in a converging trend: more and more Poles are using the foreign online shops. We are not discouraged by higher shipping costs or longer waiting time. The report titled "E-commerce in Europe" shows that in the previous year, i.a. throughout the Old Continent, the number of e-purchases lovers from the outside of the country has risen the most dynamically (yearly) in Poland.
In buying online, theoretically, you do not have to pay attention to the borderlines. However, in practice, the situation is different. E-shopping in EU countries is so transparent that there is no need to think about customs duty at all. Meanwhile, occasional offers from Asian or American stores can reach Poland with slightly less attractive prices. And it's not about expensive transport, it's about customs.
You do not have to worry about it at all unless the value of the goods exceeds 22 EUR, then shipping is not subject to additional charges. With the more expensive content package, things are getting more complicated. It is no longer only about the price of ordered items, but also about their destiny. For example, smartphones, video game consoles and cameras include a zero customs rate. This is not the only rule. Deliveries worth less than 150 EUR are not subject to customs charges but may be subject to 23% VAT. Moreover, when the value does not exceed 45 EUR, you can avoid taxation.
30 days maximum
Sellers in each of the EU countries are obliged to the 30-day delivery deadline. Within this time limit, the ordered thing should reach the customer. Exceptions to this rule may only be made when there is an individual agreement with the customer that delivery will take longer.
What if a trader does not keep his/her word? Then the ordering party has the right to withdraw from the deal. In other words, he/she may not accept the ordered product and demand the return of the transferred funds. A similar privilege is granted to anyone who would be surprised by the final price of the transaction. The law obliges sellers to clearly show the price of goods and delivery costs. Buyers, if they agree, accept any additional charges (e.g. express shipping or extra packaging) before they receive the goods. If they didn't do that, they should insist on a refund for the so-called hidden components' cost of the order.
Who will pay for the return?
The customer has to be aware that there will be some consequences if he/she does not pick up the ordered goods which arrived within the specified time frame. The company will most likely charge the buyer for a return shipping fee.
However, any online purchase in the EU can be sent to the seller without explaining why we do it, but then the buyer in most of the cases takes the cost of shipping it back. "In general" - because sometimes the commercial offers include a free return of items. Such a statement becomes obviously binding, and at the same time, very beneficial for the customer.
Compatibility of colour, model and look is required
Not only the price but also the description, the quality, the type of used materials, the size, the type, model, technical parameters, etc.- so all information provided by the seller on the website obliges to send the goods identical to the published description. When a mistake is made by the seller, the customer has the right to request replacement or repair of the ordered goods. The seller not only has to provide what he/she has offered but also is responsible for the product's defect (if there is any) until the order is delivered. If replacement or repair - for various reasons - is not at stake, then the buyer has right to receive a refund.
If the damage to the goods occurred during transportation, the consequences are again on the seller's side, but not in all of the cases. An exception may be the situation in which the customer has decided to use a different service rather than the one recommended in the offer. Claims for damage occurred during delivery must then be directed to the company of his/her choice.
Europeans are hardly comparable to Asian and American giants like alibaba.com, aliexpress.com and amazon.com. However, each market has its leaders and tycoons. In the Old Continent, thousands of customers use amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, eBay.co.uk, eBay.de - British and German cousins of US giants. It is important to distinguish between shop sites and auction sites, on the latter, there can be found shops' offers but also used items from private owners. People who do not run a business and sell, e.g. their used clothes, phones or bicycles, are also responsible for the quality of the goods and delivering the products as described in their offer. The buyer's situation changes, however, because he/she loses the right to an unjustified return of the purchased item.
Far behind the British but ahead of Romanians and Bulgarian
Do Poles use online shopping? -You can make jokes that in our country such form of acquiring goods is almost common,- says Bartosz Grejner, market analyst at Conotoxia. - According to Eurostat in the previous year, 42% of our compatriots have decided to make some e-purchases - adds the analyst Conotoxia. - It is more than twice as much as it was in 2008 when it amounted 18%.
In the European Union, we are not the leader of online shopping, however, we are not among outsiders. - According to the same statistics, we are still below the EU average of 55%. The highest percentage of online shoppers was in the UK (83% in 2016), so almost twice as much as in Poland. A slightly lower percentage was recorded in Denmark - 82%, Luxembourg or Norway - 78%. - mentions Conotoxia analyst. - In turn, at the other end was Romania with 12%. It was the same percentage as we recorded in Poland but in 2006. Only slightly better percentage in this respect had Bulgaria among other UE countries, which was characterized by 15% of online buyers - adds Bartosz Grejner.