Cancellation period in case of a sale

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Checked 21 Apr 2023
4 min read
Nederlandse versie

If you sell products or services in the Netherlands, in some cases, your customer has the right to a reflection period (cooling-off period or cancellation period). During this period, they can cancel or return their order. This is called right of withdrawal or dissolution right.

When does the cancellation period apply?

You customer has the right to a cooling-off period of 14 days if he buys something from you through for example:

The cooling-off period starts the day after delivery. You must inform your customer on all aspects of this cancellation period (in Dutch). You should among others tell them from which day the period starts and how they can cancel or return an order. If you fail to do so, the cancellation period will be extended.

Returning purchase price and delivery costs

Does your customer decide within 14 days to return their purchase? Then you must return the purchase price and the delivery costs within 14 days after cancellation. You do not have to refund delivery costs if your customer returns only part of their order. Customers do not have to give a reason to cancel their purchase.

You do not have to refund the return shipping costs if you make clear beforehand that you will not refund these. Did you fail to inform your customer before the sale that they are responsible for the return shipping costs? Then you have to pay the return shipping costs.

When does the cancellation period not apply?

In some cases, customers do not have the right to a legal cancellation period. You must state this clearly when making a sale. A legal cancellation period does not apply, for instance:

  • if you have customised goods for the customer
  • if the goods are likely to deteriorate quickly, such as perishables
  • if the sealing of a product is broken
  • for hygiene products out of their packaging
  • for entrance tickets

In some cases you do not have to state that there is no cancellation period, for example:

  • if you sell products off-premises (door-to-door, street or demonstration sales) with a value of less than €50
  • for package trips
  • for the sale or rent of houses
  • for lotteries
  • in case of market trade
  • if you have been hired for a specific date or for instance for an emergency repair

Sales at a shop

There is no cancellation period for products sold in a shop. A shopkeeper supplies the product, and their customer receives it at the agreed price. Shopkeepers may have specific terms and conditions with regard to cancelling a purchase. They can, for instance, choose to give a refund or issue a credit note. If you sell from a shop you are not obliged to exchange products. But if you allow customers to exchange a product, you should state the conditions clearly at the time of sale.

Business to business

The legal 14-day cancellation period does not apply if an entrepreneur buys something from you. For business-to-business (B2B) sales of goods or services the general rules of sale apply. You state the cancellation rules for business customers in your terms and conditions.

Cancellation period for digital content

Do you sell digital content via the internet that your customers can play online (stream) or download? Only if you tell your customer before their purchase that they cannot undo it, there is no cancellation period. You must make sure they agree to this and confirm both the purchase and their agreement. Ensure you customer can save the confirmation, so send it by e-mail, for example.

Do you sell digital content on data storage media such as CDs, memory sticks/cards, or DVDs? Then the cancellation period is 14 days. You must tell your customer before their purchase that you will seal the storage medium before sending it. And that they cannot undo the purchase if they have broken the seal. Send your customer a confirmation of their purchase in a way that they can save it, by e-mail, for example. Then send the sealed data storage medium. If you fail to take these steps, or if you do not seal the product, your customer has a cancellation period of 1 year.

Cancellation period for financial products

Do you sell financial products or, for instance, supply loans? Your customer is allowed to cancel a credit agreement within 14 days after having signed the agreement. The cancellation should be in writing, your customer does not have to pay a fine, and they do not have to give a reason. For life insurance a longer period of 30 days applies.

Did you sell a financial product during an advisory consultation? And did you inform your customer about the advisory fees beforehand (in Dutch)? If the customer dissolves the agreement, you may still send them an invoice for the advisory fees.

Cancellation period for timeshare and holiday clubs

Do you offer timeshares or memberships of a holiday club for a period of more than 1 year? You must maintain a cancellation period of 14 days and inform your customer of this beforehand. You must have your customer sign 2 forms as specified in the European directive:

Consideration period for home buyers

A buyer may decide to abandon the purchase of a house. They can do so up to 3 days after their receiving the signed deed of sale or a copy thereof. This 3 day consideration period (in Dutch) must consist of at least 2 working days. The buyer does not need to give a reason or pay compensation.

This webpage is part of an EU quality network

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO