How long does a guarantee expire

Services - Guarantee: insist on your rights

Countless complaints to the “Kassensturz / Espresso” editorial team show that when customers make warranty claims, they often encounter resistance and excuses. Read here what applies.

«Guarantee» - what does that mean?

A seller has to deliver a flawless object of purchase. The thing must have all the warranted properties and must not have any defects. The seller must be responsible for the quality of his product during the guarantee period.

How long is the guarantee period?

According to the law, the guarantee period must be at least two years, and one year for used goods. These deadlines may not be shortened. But: It is allowed to exclude the guarantee entirely. In this case, however, the seller is obliged to draw the customer's attention to the exclusion before purchasing.

Do shorter warranty periods apply to exhibition models?

Exhibition models are only considered second-hand devices if they have actually been tried and used by different customers. Only in this case is the guarantee period one year.

When is a product considered defective?

If an object of purchase is not suitable for its intended use, there is a defect. For example, if the seams on an item of clothing come loose or the watch turns out to be not waterproof despite the warranty. There is no defect if damage has arisen as a result of incorrect handling or normal wear and tear. The customer should report a defect immediately. The longer he waits, the more difficult it becomes to prove the defect.

Will you get a new device or will you get your money back?

According to the law, a customer has three options: he can withdraw from the contract, request a price reduction or an equivalent replacement product. Lawyers speak of change, reduction and replacement delivery.

There is no right to repair in the law. This means that the seller cannot force a repair on a customer. Unless this has been expressly agreed in the contract. In most of the contractual conditions, however, the providers expressly reserve the right to repair. A frustration for consumers. You have to swallow it when your new device has a defect and needs to be repaired right away.

When and how often do you have to accept a repair?

In contrast to the guarantee periods, the statutory warranty rights are not mandatory, so they may be contractually restricted or changed. Many providers make use of this option in their general terms and conditions. To the detriment of the customer.

Mitigation and change are almost always excluded. Instead, there is a free repair. In order for such conditions to apply, the seller must inform his customer of this prior to purchasing. However, no customer has to accept countless repair attempts. If a repair fails more than twice, he can claim a replacement or withdraw from the contract.

Does the guarantee also apply to accessories and wearing parts?

A customer is entitled to a defect-free product. The guarantee also applies to accessories and wearing parts. Dealers are not allowed to shorten this period.

According to the law, the guarantee only covers defects that make the use of an item impossible or significantly reduce it. Normal wear and tear is not a defect. Nevertheless, some providers give a guarantee on batteries and other wearing parts, often for three to six months. This so-called functional guarantee is a voluntary service. If a problem occurs during this time, the customer is entitled to a repair or a new part.

Important: In this case, based on the statutory guarantee period, customers can make a claim even after the functional guarantee has expired for a maximum of two years from the date of purchase. Provided, of course, that the loss of performance or impairment already occurred during the duration of the functional guarantee. In practice, however, it is advisable for reasons of evidence to always report defects immediately.

It is different if the battery does not provide any performance or not the performance that could be expected right from the start. In this case the part is defective within the meaning of the law and the customer can claim the usual guarantee.

Is there another two-year guarantee after an exchange during the guarantee period?

If a defective device is replaced, the seller acknowledges the defect. This interrupts the guarantee period and starts running again. The same applies to replaced parts when the device has been repaired. There is also a two-year guarantee on these parts.

Can a provider refer the customer to the manufacturer?

According to the law, the seller is responsible. He is a contractual partner and is therefore not allowed to refer a customer to the manufacturer. However, the customer may contact the manufacturer if the seller's guarantee period has expired, but the manufacturer's warranty has not yet expired.

Is there a guarantee only if the original packaging is returned?

No conditions may be attached to the guarantee. A stipulation that the guarantee is only granted if the customer returns the device in its original packaging is not permitted.

The seller claims that the damage was self-inflicted. Who has to prove what?

According to the law, the party who wants to claim a right always has to prove something. Specifically: The seller must prove that the customer is at fault if he claims this and therefore does not want to provide a guarantee. In a specific situation, customers should always request written proof of this claim, for example reports, measurement results or a third-party opinion.

What does the «manufacturer's guarantee» include?

Manufacturers grant a so-called manufacturer guarantee on their products, usually two or three years. Customers are entitled to the two-year statutory guarantee from their seller and, in addition, to the guarantee of the manufacturer of a device. It is therefore worthwhile to find out more about the manufacturer's warranty conditions in the event of a warranty claim.