Consumer Protections Returns & Exchanges

Thinking of returning or exchanging your purchase? Learn what rights consumers in Hamburg have when it comes to returns and exchanges.

Returns & Exchanges

Shopping in Hamburg: Returns & Exchanges

It doesn't fit, you don’t like it as much as you thought, or you accidentally bought to many? Then you may be thinking about returning or exchanging a purchase. But is this always possible? What rights do consumers in Hamburg have when it comes to returns and exchanges?

First things first: there is no fundamental legal right to exchange or return a purchased item! The law only provides for a right of return in cases where the item shows a defect. 

However, things are a little different when it comes to online shopping. In this case, customers have the option of revoking the purchase contract within 14 days of receipt of goods. This also applies if the goods are free of defects. 

Exceptions may apply to the online shopping regulations, however. For example in the case of personalised products, perishable goods or hygiene items, the right of return may face qualifications or by completely null and void. The dealer must inform you about the procedure for withdrawing your right of return in such specific cases as part of the purchase agreement. 

But what if you made a purchase in person and now wish to make a return or exchange? Many retailers are actually quite accommodating in these situations and will take back goods even if there is no defect. However, the conditions for this are determined by the respective dealer and they are under no legal obligation to accept returns not required by law. That said, the prerequisite for an exchange is usually the presentation of a receipt. There can also be differences in what the customer gets back. Some companies may refund the full purchase price already paid, others only a voucher for a future purchase. The length of time within which a return is possible can also vary. 

So the bottom line for shopping is this: if you want to be on the safe side as a buyer, you should inquire about the exchange options when buying goods in the first place. The Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg (‘Hamburg Consumer Advice Centre’) offers further information and advice on all aspects of shopping at (in German).

Store Exchanges