Shopping and consumer protection
- Shop opening times
- Paying for purchases
- Shopping on the Internet
- Warranty and guarantee
- Exchanging goods
- Door-to-door sales
You can buy food and other things you need on a daily basis in grocery shops, shopping centres and specialist shops. But the same goods do not always cost the same in different shops. Particularly good value prices – special offers – are often only valid for a short period. It is therefore worth finding out the exact details of offers, and comparing quality and prices.
If you are purchasing larger items, it can be a good idea to read test reports about the products. There are lots of ways of finding out how good an offer really is. The Warentest foundation and the Federal Länder’s consumer advice centres (roughly 200 advice centres all over the country) provide information and product assessments in press reports, specialist magazines and publications on the Internet.
Shop opening times
Shops in Germany do not all have the same opening hours; they differ from Land to Land. As a rule, shops are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. In some Federal Länder the opening hours are longer.
Paying for purchases
You can pay for purchases with cash all over Germany. The option of paying cash-free is also available in almost all shops. To do this you need an account at a bank or Sparkasse that will provide you with an EC debit card or a credit card with which you can pay for purchases. The amount you pay will then be automatically deducted from your account.
Shopping on the Internet
Nowadays, you can buy many goods over the Internet. However, not all offers on the Internet are genuine. You should therefore be careful when shopping on the Internet and participating in Internet auctions. One safe way of shopping on the Internet is choosing options where you only have to pay once you have received the goods and the invoice. Another secure method is the direct debit system that deducts funds directly from your bank account. For this to happen you must first give your permission. This method has the advantage that you can claim your money back from your bank within six weeks.
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Warranty and guarantee
Every seller must ensure that his goods are not faulty. If the customer notices faults or defects within two years that existed at the time of purchase, he or she has a statutory entitlement to a warranty. This also applies to goods purchased at a reduced price and special offers. This entitlement naturally does not apply if a product wears out through use. If a fault occurs within the first six months after purchase, the seller must prove that the goods were sold to you without faults or defects. If more than six months have passed, you as the customer must prove that the goods were faulty at the outset.
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The exchange of goods always takes place on a voluntary basis. Shops are not obliged to exchange purchased goods if the goods are not faulty.
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A contract is agreed quickly – sometimes too quickly, above all at your front door, on the Internet or over the telephone. Therefore you have a legal right to withdraw from such contracts. This means that you can cancel the contract and that it becomes invalid. You do not have to give reasons for your withdrawal. If problems should arise in spite of this, you can contact a consumer advice centre.