When the online retailer has it delivered

By no means every operator of an online shop also has its own warehouse. That might not be important if it didn’t often have consequences for buyers.

There are online retailers who do not ship the goods themselves from their own stocks, but have them delivered by third parties. The European Consumer Center (EVZ) warns that this so-called third-party business (dropshipping) can mean long delivery times and confusion about who to contact if you have questions or problems. In some cases, there was also a risk of poor product quality or goods that were not EU-compliant.

Irrespective of whether the retailer is located in Germany or in another EU country: In principle, third-party transactions are subject to the same regulations as the classic so-called warehousing business, in which the goods are delivered from the company’s own stock. This means, for example, that you can make use of your 14-day right of withdrawal throughout Europe – theoretically.

Revocation difficult to impossible

In practice, however, third-party transactions often make it more difficult or even impossible to withdraw, explains the EVZ. This applies in particular if the actual supplier is based outside the EU. In this case, it can quickly come to long delivery times and high return costs.

According to the information, dropshipping does not have to be labeled and is not always immediately recognizable. The shipping constellation often only becomes clear when the shipment arrives and the sender’s address is different from that of the seller on the package.

Where do the returns go?

Of course you can try to find out the return address before placing an order. If this is not specified in the cancellation policy, it will only be communicated on request and if it is outside the EU, it is usually dropshipping. (dpa)