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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3655
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I live in England and I recently bought an item through

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Hi: I live in England and I recently bought an item through an online auction site in Germany that has a good reputation. The item was described as being in good condition with a picture of it. However, when it arrived, it was significantly damaged in parts -- this may have been as a result of the shipping or it could also have been concealed in the single photo. The auction site is refusing to refund me, saying that it was not damaged (even though I sent pictures). It's not material to me whether the damage occurred in the shipping or was concealed in the photo. However, I do want my money back, because it is worth considerably less than what I thought I was bidding on. I know what my recourse is within the UK and I understand that EU laws are similar, but I do not know how to try to enforce these with the seller. Your advice would be helpful. Regards, Kirsten
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. Did you by any chance pay for the goods on a credit card? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. I paid for them immediately after purchase through a wire transfer. Credit card payments were not an option and I would have had to pay 3% in addition if I went through PayPal. I read online that I should be entitled to a 14 day period where I should be able to return the items without any questions asked. I just want to return the one item. I paid 870 euros for it, along with shipping (that involved other articles).
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you. Can you send me the name of the site so I can review their terms and conditions? I will then confirm to you where you can sue them to recover the loss you have suffered?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Here is the link to their website. http://www3.spielzeugauktion.de/sp4/site/pages/2/news.htmlUnfortunately, their terms and conditions are in German. However, I understand that based on UK consumer rights laws, they are entitled to allow me to send the item back with 14 days of receiving it: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/consumer-marketing/files/crd_arc2014_factsheet-consumer_general_en.pdf and these laws apply to all online sellers, including auction houses.I also want to make clear that I went into this in good faith and am quite surprised that the seller supplied such an inaccurate photo at the auction house and was so unkind after the closing of the transaction. Not only is the item damaged/not as described, but I also received it four weeks after purchase because they lost my invoice.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Thank you. You are correct the 14 day period is called the cooling off period, it applies to goods or services purchased online. Have you specifically said you want to exercise your cooling off right? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Originally, I pointed out to them that it was damaged -- potentially through the shipping -- and wanted to return it. They are saying that it is not damaged and that they will not reimburse me. I should also say that they were late in getting the items to me because of a fault on their side. So even though it is within 14 days of receiving the item, I paid for it over a month ago.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you. The right to cancel period does state under EU law it is 14 days from when you receive the goods - when were the goods delivered?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Last Wednesday. I wrote to them promptly, but they only got back to me today.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is our conversation through? Because I just got a notification to rate you. I'm not sure if you have provided me any advice, because you simply restated what I knew already. What I need from you is advice on how to engage with them so I get reimbursed. Even if it is the law that they reimburse me, how do I make sure that this is enforced?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you my apologies, I have just received this message. If they are refusing to reimburse you, despite the law being on your side, you would have to sue them to get the money back. You would have to take such action in Germany as well. For the sake of 800 Euros it would be time consuming and expensive, so I would consider other options first. As a starting point I would try making a complaint through a EU Consumer Support Service for example http://www.ukecc.net/consumer-topics/online-dispute-resolution.cfm - this is like the EU equivalent of trading standards. I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi AJ: Thanks for getting back to me. This is very helpful. Just for clarity, what do you recommend the steps should be. Should I mail them back the goods regardless? Should I tell them first that I am filing a complaint? I understand that before suing them, I can take out the equivalent of a small claims against them through their equivalent of the consumer advice service in Mannheim. Is this correct? Thanks, Kirsten
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you. As long you have the complaint recorded in writing within the 14 day period, I would hold onto the goods until you can agree a method for their return. If you just return the goods without agreement they could get lost or just retained and then you would have no goods or money. I would warn them first that if they do not take your complaint seriously you will report the matter and reserve the right to sue. Yes you would have to going through the court service you can obtain the equivalent of a Judgment ordering them to pay a debt - I would try and resolve this outside of court first as there is no guarantee you will recover all the cost of court proceedings. Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for this information. It would be really helpful if you could outline a series of steps for me at this stage. For example, is there an official way of warning them? I have told them that I intend to escalate this and they are not responding. Do I give them a time period within which they can respond and then escalate? Best, Kirsten
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you. I will do this may take me a little while but I will revert to you as soon as possible - I am not a German Law expert so may have to refer the matter to a German expert if you require detailed advice on the German Court process. Kind regards
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi: I'm not sure I will need detailed information about the German Court process just yet. Just how I should now escalate it in a more formal way, as they are now ignoring my e-mails. Best, Kirsten
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. No problem. I will prepare this and revert to you as soon as possible. Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Great. Looking forward to it.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Thank you what I suggest you do is write to them as follows:(i) Reiterate that it is your right to return the goods within 14 days of receipt as consumer based in the EU;(ii) Say you gave them notice on [INSERT DATE] of your right to exercise a return of the goods;(iii) The goods were delivered to you damaged and you were not responsible for their delivery and accordingly the company is liable to deal with your complaint and issue you with a refund;(iv) Say if they do not respond within 7 days you reserve the right to take any action available to you including complaining to the regulator of consumer matters or taking court action to recover the debt. If they do not respond then I would take the next stage of complaining to the http://www.ukecc.net/consumer-topics/online-dispute-resolution.cfm of complaining to the EU Consumer Support Service.If this still does not reach a satisfactory solution I would consider the next steps of court action in Germany.I look forward to hearing from you.
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