A distance contract is a contract between a professional and a consumer, for the provision of a service or goods. A distance contract may be concluded by any means (by telephone, e-mail, catalogue, etc.) which do not require the simultaneous physical presence of the parties to the contract.
The distance contract is regulated by the Consumer Code in Articles 45 - 67. These rules, however, do not apply to a number of contracts, such as consumer credit (included among financial services as defined in art.45, letter. N) and to distance contracts of financial services, timeshare (art. 47 letter. h), the contracts that are established by a public office holder (art. 47 letter.i), to the package holiday (Art. 47 letter. g) and for passenger transport services (art. 47 letterm). Furthermore, these provisions do not apply to the contracts for which the payment to be made by the consumer does not exceed EUR 50 (art. 47 paragraph 2).
The trader must provide clear and comprehensible information to the consumer, in good time prior to the conclusion of the contract. They must give due regard to the principles of good faith in commercial transactions and the protection of persons who are unable to give their consent (such as minors).
Pre-contractual information includes, as a minimum:
- the identity and possibly the address of the trader;
- the characteristics of the goods or services and their price including all taxes;
- delivery costs;
- the arrangements for payment, delivery or performance of the contract;
- the existence of a right of withdrawal;
- the period for which the offer or the price remains valid and possibly the minimum duration of the contract;
- the cost of using the means of distance communication, where it is calculated other than at the base rate.
The trader must provide written confirmation of the pre-contractual information (or on another durable medium, such as electronic mail) at the time of performance of the contract or at the latest during delivery of the goods if they are being sent directly to the consumer.
After signing the contract, the trader has thirty days in which to perform the contract. If the goods or service ordered are not available, the consumer shall be reimbursed within 30 days. However, if the contract provides for this possibility, the supplier may procure goods or services of an equivalent quality and price to the original order.
If the consumer is not convinced, he may can change his mind within a period of 14 days, without penalty and without giving a reason. The only charge that may be made to the consumer is the direct cost of returning the goods.
The time limit to exercise the right of withdrawal runs from the date of the delivery in the case of goods' purchase and from the date of the conclusion of the contract in the case of services' purchase. However, if the trader did not fulfil its obligation and fails to inform the consumer about the right of withdrawal, the time limit is extended to 12 months.
The right of withdrawal may be exercised by making written notification by no later the term established by the law.