Shopping in a store in Germany: your rights as a consumer

The rights when shopping in a store differ from the rights you have when shopping online. We provide you an overview concerning guarantees, exchanges, prices, payment, sales and opening hours in Germany.

Legal Warranty: 2 Years from the Delivery of Goods in Europe

Consumers have a right to a minimum warranty of two years on products. In case of the purchase of used goods the guarantee term can be reduced to one year. This legal guarantee only applies on material defects that already existed when the consumer received the product. Within the first six months any lack of conformity shall be presumed to have existed at the time of delivery, unless proved otherwise. Within this period the consumer is entitled to have the goods brought back into conformity. The consumer is entitled to ask for the goods to be repaired or replaced free of charge.

Also important for consumers is that after this period of six months they are still protected against faulty products. Within two years from delivery of the goods the trader still can be held liable for any lack of conformity. However, it is then up to the consumer to prove that the lack of conformity existed at the time of delivery. 

Voluntary guarantees given by a producer do not restrict the statutory rights of consumers.

Exchange / Return

A consumer does not have a legal right to an exchange or to return the product. It is at the trader’s discretion.

Pricing

  • The German currency is the euro.
  • The price of the product must be displayed on a price tag. The price must be definitely referable to the product, easily identifiable and clearly readable. The price tag must not be fixed to the product itself.
  • The consumer cannot insist on getting the item for the price indicated on the price tag.
  • VAT must be included in the price.
  • The trader is obliged to issue a receipt to the consumer, if the consumer asks for.

VAT rates in Germany

EU governments have in the past agreed to loosely align their rates for indirect taxes by setting minimum levels.Here you can find the VAT rates applicable in the EU Member States. In Germany, the reduced VAT rate is 7 %, the standard VAT rate is 19 %.

Categories of goods and services charged with reduced VAT rat (7 %): Water supplies, medical equipment for disabled persons, local public transport, books, newspapers, periodicals, writers/composers etc., agricultural inputs, hotel accommodation, social services, firewood, take away, cut flowers and plants etc.

VAT is not applicable on the island of Helgoland (located outside the 12 mile sea zone) and in the territory of Büsingen (exclave located in Switzerland).

Note: From 1 July to 31 December 2020, VAT on goods and services will be reduced from 19% to 16%. The reduced rate, which applies to food, for example, will be 5% instead of 7%.

Methods of Payment

The most common methods of payment in Germany are cash, credit and debit cards. When paying by credit or debit card, consumers may have to show identity card. Some restaurants and shops do not accept credit cards while debit cards, namely the German Girocard, are widely accepted.

 

Sales

Sales can take place at any time in Germany. They usually start last week of January (“Winterschlussverkauf, WSV” / winter sales) and last week of July (“Sommerschlussverkauf, SSV” / summer sales) and last for about two weeks.

 

Opening hours

Shops’ general opening hours are: Depending on state

  • Monday – Saturday: 00:00/06:00 -/ 20:00/22:00/24:00
  • Sunday: closed (A few Sunday openings are allowed yearly depending on state)

The boutiques and smaller shops in the City

  • Monday – Saturday: 9:00/9:30 -18:00/20:00
  • Sunday: closed

Banks’ general opening hours are:

  • Monday – Friday: 09:00 / 09:30 - 17:00 / 18:00
  • Saturday & Sunday: closed
  • Some are open on Saturday in the morning from 9:00 to 12:00/12:30.

Post Offices’ general opening hours are:

  • Monday – Friday: 08:00 / 08:30 - 18:00
  • Saturday: on Saturday from 9:00 to 12:00/12:30
  • Sunday: closed

 

Deposit

There is a deposit (up to 0,25 € per piece) on almost all bottles and cans excluding wine, milk, juices and spirits as well as ecologically profitable packing.

 

Tourist information

Tourist information can be found via the following link to the official website for tourism and travel: Germany-Travel.de

National Labels in Germany

Visit the website www.label-online.de with information about more than 400 German labels to get an overview. Among them are ecolabels as the Blue Angel (Blauer Engel), labels validating the safety of products as GS (Geprüfte Sicherheit) and eCommerce labels.

Here a link to one of Germany’s best-known labels: www.stiftung-warentest.de

ECC-Net: Travel App

The mobile travel companion for Europe. In 25 languages, the application offers assistance in situations such as lost baggage, delayed flights, unavailable hotel room, return of damaged goods or car rental problems.

This free app is available