Why is delivery important

Information on delivery time: What is permitted?

Since the implementation of the Consumer Rights Directive in 2014, online retailers have been obliged to provide information about the date by which the goods will be delivered or the service provided. However, this is not easy as smooth shipping cannot be guaranteed. In order not to have to commit, many online retailers try to give the information on delivery times as vague as possible. Unclear information on delivery times should be avoided at all costs, because they pose a warning risk.
In this article you can find out which information on delivery times is permissible and which should not be used.

Legal background

Traders are obliged to inform the consumer of the date by which they must deliver the goods or provide the service. This information obligation applies to contracts concluded “outside of business premises” as well as to “distance sales contracts” and thus also to the sale of goods on Internet platforms such as Amazon or eBay. This should enable the consumer to calculate when he will receive the goods or when he can expect the service to be provided. This knowledge is z. This is important, for example, if the consumer needs the goods ordered by a certain date (e.g. swimwear that is specially ordered for the holiday).

Challenge for dealers

It is hardly possible to specify a specific delivery date because, for example, the commissioned shipping company can be delayed in transporting the goods or the retailer needs more time than planned to prepare the ordered goods for dispatch. When specifying a delivery period, it is essential to ensure that a formulation is chosen as specifically as possible. On the one hand, the consumer should be adequately informed about the period within which he can expect the order to arrive, and on the other hand, the wording should enable the retailer to include any deviations in the calculation.

Placement of the notice

The reference to the delivery time must be placed in such a way that it is easily recognizable for the consumer and can be perceived before the order is sent, i.e. before the consumer has initiated the ordering process by placing the goods in the virtual shopping cart. It is therefore advisable to place the note on the product page.

Permitted formulations

Contrary to what the wording might suggest, the term “delivery date” does not mean a specific date. It is sufficient to specify a specific delivery period. The indication of the delivery period should enable the consumer to calculate the end of the delivery period. To be legally on the safe side, the information should be made as specific as possible. The following formulations are sufficiently specific:

  • "Delivery takes place within 2-4 working days."
  • "Delivery within 3-5 days."
  • "Delivery time up to 5 days."
  • "Delivery takes place in max. 5 working days."

Inadmissible formulations

Unspecified information on the delivery time is not permitted because it is misleading. The following information has already been declared inadmissible by various courts:

  • "Delivery times not binding."
  • "Delivery times on request."
  • "Usually dispatched in 2-4 days."
  • "Estimated shipping time: 1-3 days."

The consumer must be able to see when the parcel will reach him. This is not the case with such information.

Ordering multiple items with different delivery times

If a customer orders multiple items that have different delivery times, online retailers must indicate which delivery times apply. It must be stated here whether the goods are to be sent in a joint shipment or in several shipments (partial deliveries). If the goods are to be sent in a joint shipment, the customer must be informed that his order will be sent in a joint shipment as soon as all the items ordered are in stock and that the delivery time for the item with the longest delivery time then applies in total.

Shipping abroad

If the dealer offers shipping abroad, the different delivery times must be specified for shipping abroad. For example, an asterisk can be added to the delivery times and the following text added to the footer: “The delivery times given apply to shipping within Germany. The delivery times for shipping abroad can be found here (linked). ”Under this link, which leads to a separate page with shipping information, the additional delivery time to the domestic German delivery time for each country must be listed.


The information on the delivery time must not be missing in any online shop. The notice is best placed on the product page. It is important to ensure that the information is given as precisely as possible. Formulations that enable the consumer to calculate the end of the delivery time are permitted. Unclear formulations such as “usually” or “likely” represent a warning risk and should be avoided.