When a product is not in conformity, you have the right to request the seller to provide remedies such as repair, replacement or refund for a period of 2 years EU-wide (6 years in Ireland). The following rules apply.
- If a fault appears within 6 months after purchase, it is presumed to have existed at the time of purchase.
- If the fault appears after 6 months, the consumer may need to prove that the fault was not the result of normal wear and tear or own misuse.
The remedies for receiving defective products are to be offered at no extra cost:
- the seller can offer the consumer a repair or replacement item at first instance.
- a refund may then be provided if the the first step above fails to correct the problem
- if the defect is minor, a reduction in the price may also be considered.
When you buy goods or services, they may come with a legal guarantee and/or a commercial warranty which both provide additional protection if things go wrong, the product is defective or is otherwise not in conformity with its stated specifications. A commercial guarantee or warranty is in addition to your statutory rights, not instead of them.
A guarantee or warranty is an undertaking by a seller or manufacturer to the consumer to reimburse the price paid, or to replace, repair, or proceed – during the period specified – in the manner set out in the relevant guarantee statement or advertising. Guarantees and warranties are legally binding and are in addition to, not a substitution for, your statutory consumer rights for defective products above.
Both guarantee and warranty certificates should be provided in a durable and accessible format (for example, in hard copy or email) and include the following information:
- What is covered
- The exact duration of the cover
- Geographical restrictions, if any
- Procedure to register the guarantee/warranty, if required for activation
- Procedure for making a claim
If both a guarantee and a warranty come with the product, the documentation should specify in clear terms who is responsible for dealing with each of remedies (seller/retailer, manufacturer or a third-party/repair service).
A guarantee is an agreement from the manufacturer confirming that they will repair or replace an item if something goes wrong within a certain amount of time after you buy it. Guarantees are usually offered free by the manufacturer. The guarantee must state its content in simple and understandable terms and indicate the conditions for claiming under it, e.g. how long it lasts and where it applies, and the name and address of the guarantor. At the consumer’s request, the guarantee shall be made available in writing or another durable medium.
A warranty is an extra optional protection offered at additional cost, and may be offered by the retailer of the product. It is similar to an insurance policy and covers the product beyond the manufacturer’s guarantee period.
If there is a problem, you should always contact the seller first to report the issue. Your contract is with the seller who sold you the product and under consumer legislation and it is up to them to offer remedies at first instance. They may liaise further with their suppliers or the manufacturer to resolve the matter.
Learn more about consumer guarantees and remedies for defective products here.