A new mandatory withdrawal button is on the horizon

Contrary to previous drafts, the EU plans to extend the scope of contract types for which a new e-commerce “withdrawal button” will be mandatory. If the European Parliament passes the new law, online traders will have to adapt their online shops.

Background

On May 11, 2022, the European Commission submitted a proposal for a directive (“VRRL-E”)to amend Directive 2011/83/EU (Consumer Rights Directive; CRD) and repeal the Financial Services Directive 2002/65/EC, which is 20 years old. The main objective of the proposal is to protect consumers, particularly in relation to complex financial services that may be difficult to understand. To achieve this, the proposal recommends the inclusion of a withdrawal button in distance contracts for financial services. The European Council has now received the VRRL-E to extent the withdrawal button requirement to further contract types.

The VRRL-E has proposed supplementing the VRRL with a new Article 11a. Article 11a (1) VRRL-E will mandate the inclusion of a withdrawal button for all distant selling contracts “concluded by the means of an online interface”.

Specific proposal for implementation

"Article 11a Exercise of the right of withdrawal from distance contracts concluded by the means of an online interface

1. For distance contracts concluded by the means of an online interface, the trader shall ensure that the consumer can withdraw from the contract on that same online interface by using a button or a similar function. The button or a similar function shall be labelled in a legible manner and shall contain the words “withdraw from contract here” or a corresponding unambiguous formulation. The withdrawal button or a similar function shall be placed on the online interface in a prominent manner and be easily accessible to the consumer. […]“

The new proposal does not provide a definition of "online interfaces", but recital 25 of VRRL-E explicitly states that “websites and applications” as examples.

Information to be provided

In order to be able to make his declaration of withdrawal, the consumer should indicate his name, the name of the contract and information on the receipt of the confirmation of withdrawal. The recitals also mention the possibility of confirming the information necessary to identify the contract. For example, a consumer who has already identified himself - e.g. by logging in - could confirm which contract is to be withdrawn from without having to provide a name and the name of the contract.

Art. 11a

(2) Using the button or a similar function shall allow the consumer to make the withdrawal statement by providing or confirming the…

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