Right of withdrawal,
This guideline provides an overview of the requirements for handling cancellations and complaints.
When selling products to consumers, you are obliged to inform the consumer of their legal right to withdraw from the purchase agreement (right of withdrawal) and must comply with the consumer's legal rights in accordance with the applicable laws of the country in which the consumer is a resident and must process returns accordingly.
As a merchant, you are responsible for handling customer complaints. You are obligated to inform buyers about their right to lodge a complaint and their right to return or cancel an order. You must also inform the buyer about any costs that may be incurred if items are returned within the specified time period.
Right of withdrawal
In principle, consumers have a legal right to withdraw from a purchase agreement within 14 days of receipt of the goods purchased. The right of withdrawal is governed by law and is available to consumers for almost all distance selling agreements. The customer can also exercise their right of withdrawal for only part of the order. In such instances the portion of the order that was not cancelled will remain valid.
As a merchant you are obliged to respond to any cancellation requests on the basis of the customer's right of withdrawal within 48 hours of receipt (weekdays, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays).
As a merchant you are furthermore obliged to accept any cancellations on the basis of the customer's right of withdrawal sent to Rakuten (e.g. by email) provided this was received by Rakuten within the 14-day period. Rakuten will immediately forward such cancellations to you by email.
When a customer has cancelled an order on the basis of their right of withdrawal and has returned the ordered goods, you are obliged to record this return in the system (without a credit note) by no later than the end of the next working day (weekdays, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays).
Reimbursing customers for return shipping costs
If your Cancellation Policy states that you will bear the return shipping cost, any expenses the customer may have incurred must be reimbursed. If possible, you should provide a prepaid return mailing label for the customer.
Rakuten will not pay the fees for any chargebacks requested by the buyer, e.g. when paying by credit card, PayPal or PayDirect. If a buyer requests a chargeback even though they have received the goods, they must pay the fees.
Where a buyer has requested a chargeback because their order was not received, you are required to provide proof of delivery. If you cannot provide proof of delivery, you will be liable to pay the chargeback fees. The total amount of the chargeback as well as any fees will then be deducted from your merchant account.
There is of course always a chance that customers will complain about faulty or damaged products.
As a merchant, you are obliged to respond to complaints within 48 hours (weekdays, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays). You are also required to cover the return shipping costs.
You are obliged to accept all goods sent back by the customer (returns). Returned products must be checked as soon as you receive them.
If the customer requests a repair or replacement, this must be carried out within 3 weeks.
If you have agreed to a refund, the refund must be paid to the customer in full. The refund must be issued within 48 hours of receipt of the goods (weekdays, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.)
The customer is required to pay for any decrease in the value of the goods, but only if an inspection of the condition, features and functionality of the goods reveals that this loss in value has resulted from the customer improperly handling the goods. The customer is only liable to pay compensation for any damage to the product, not for the use of the product.
As the merchant, you carry the burden of proof in such cases. Rakuten may also verify that the proof you have provided is suitable. The amount of compensation will be based on the resale value of the returned goods in their current condition.
Avoiding order cancellation by customers and customer complaints
Please observe the following service quality guidelines when handling customer complaints:
- Complaints must be handled quickly. Respond to customer complaints promptly and by no later than 48 hours after receiving the customer complaint (weekdays, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays).
- Always remain focused on providing a high quality of service when communicating with customers. If necessary, our customer service team will be happy to act on your behalf.
- Improve your processes so that complaints can be avoided.
- Always seek a customer-oriented solution. A satisfied customer is likely to be a repeat customer.
- Detailed product descriptions can have an impact on your return rate. Providing all the necessary product information prevents the most common reason for returns: "Item did not meet my expectations".
- Provide accurate and detailed product images.
- Keep shipping times as short as possible and ensure that the specified product availability is accurate.
- Provide excellent customer service and respond to customer enquiries in a timely manner.
- Process returns in a timely manner.
- You can view your return rate for the previous month at the Merchant Backend under "Quality Attributes". Use this feature to keep an eye on your return rate.
If, in response to a complaint, a customer does not receive a replacement product but rather a refund for the full value of the product, you must record this as a return (without a credit note) in the system. If you replace a faulty product, you are not required to enter anything at the Merchant Backend.
If a buyer has returned an item to you or you have received the item or proof of delivery for the return, you must ensure that this is recorded right away. You can do this in the Manage Orders section of your account.
Please note that your return rate directly affects your Merchant Quality Score.
Different return address
Would you like to specify a different address for returns? You can enter this at the Merchant Backend under the "Account Information" section. We will use this information in your marketplace Cancellation Policy.
Please note that we currently only accept return addresses located in Germany, the United Kingdom, France or Austria.
An order can only be cancelled if it has not yet been shipped. You are required to use one of the cancellation reasons provided at the Merchant Backend and must be truthful when providing your reason for cancelling the order.
Once the order is cancelled, your customer will receive an email notifying them of this. The reason for the cancellation is included in the email.
The cancellation rate is based on the number of cancellations as a proportion of all orders. Your cancellation rate should be kept as low as possible. The cancellations for which you as the merchant are responsible are decisive here. It is a quantifiable measure of quality and is important on our marketplace. For more information please see the "Merchant Quality Score" Guidelines”.
How to prevent cancellations
- Avoid product shortages and always keep your inventory information up to date.
- Avoid cancellations as a result of shipping delays. Contact Merchant Support to inform us of any shipping delays. Contact your customers to inform them about any unexpected shipping delays right away.
- If necessary, update the shipping times for specific products.
By observing these guidelines, we can ensure an excellent level of service. We look forward to working with you as a merchant to offer a shopping experience geared towards customer service.
Please note: Should you experience a high number of customer complaints, please check your products as well as the product descriptions or improve your shipping process. Customer Service enquiries related to complaints are logged by the Merchant Quality team. If you have any questions regarding complaints, please contact our Merchant Support team at email@example.com.