According to Article 80 para 3 of the Act of 14 July 1991, no payment may be requested from the consumer before the end of the withdrawal period.
The court finds that the Act of 14 July 1991 does not forbid sellers to offer consumers different payment methods, as long as the consumer is given also the possibility to pay after the end of the withdrawal period. The consumer may however not be forced to choose for the payment before the end of the withdrawal period. Consequently, encouraging consumers to do so, is not in itself an infringement of the consumer’s right.
Then the court assesses whether in this case the consumer is forced to pay in advance. In that regard the court concludes that the transport costs which the consumer has to bear for picking up the order at one of the pickup points is not to be regarded as a payment, since the products are delivered in supermarkets to which consumers direct themselves for ordinary daily purchases. Moreover, there are such a great number of pickup points and Belgium has such a small territory, that consumers will not have to travel a great distance. Therefore the costs connected with picking up the order are merely symbolic.
The court also considers that an extra payment may imposed on the consumer if he chooses to pay after the withdrawal period, but only if this extra payment corresponds effectively to the real cost of that payment method and does not constitute a sanction for choosing that payment method.
As such, this payment facility with extra costs does not prevent the consumer from choosing to pay after the expiry of the withdrawal period, nor does it discourage him to do so. The court is furthermore of the opinion that these extra costs charged correspond to genuine administrative costs.
Also the “pocket card” system does not infringe the law, since the consumer can at any time cancel his payment order during the withdrawal period and no effective payment is executed before the end of the withdrawal period.
The court finally concludes that none of the payment methods offered by La Redoute does violate the Act of 14 July 1991.
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