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Warranty of the dealer

In principle, every consumer has the right to receive goods that have been purchased without any errors. The warranty ("liability for material defects") is a legally regulated claim of the consumer against the seller if defective goods are delivered. It should not be confused with a guarantee - this is basically a voluntary service by the manufacturer or dealer.

The following applies to the warranty: In the event of defects in the goods, the consumer can initially only choose one Replacement delivery request or one repairIn both cases, the seller must bear all costs for transport, labor and materials. The lawyers call this "supplementary performance". The customer can decide whether the purchased goods should be repaired or exchanged (Section 439 (1) BGB). However, the dealer can refuse the selected type of supplementary performance if disproportionately high costs arise (Section 439 (4) BGB). Our sample letter "Delivered / purchased goods have defects" helps with the assertion of claims.

For particularly bulky or fragile items, buyers may insist that repairs be made on site. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on 23 May 2019 (Az. C-52/18). In the case of compact items that customers can easily bring to the post office themselves, the seller can request that they be returned. In all cases, the retailer must ultimately bear the costs. Customers can request an advance payment for the transport or shipping costs. However, this does not apply to revocations of contracts for goods free of defects.

Reduce the purchase price or withdraw from the contract

Customers can usually only reduce the purchase price or withdraw from the contract if the repair fails twice or the replacement delivery fails. You can use the sample letter "Subsequent performance has failed" for this purpose. If the retailer offers you a voucher, you don't have to accept it.

In principle, the buyer has the rights mentioned within two years after the handover or delivery of the item (Receipt of the product) too. In the case of used goods, this period can be limited to one year by the seller (Section 476 (2) BGB); e.g. through general terms and conditions or individual agreement when concluding the contract.But what if the seller claims that a defect did not exist from the start and the buyer is responsible for this? That depends on when the deficiency occurred.

In the first six months after delivery of the goods: It is legally presumed that a defect was already present at the time of purchase. The buyer then does not need to provide evidence that, for example, the couch or computer was already defective or functionally impaired at the time of handover. This is what judgments of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) say. In the first six months, the seller must refute the legal presumption that the item was defective at the time of purchase or delivery. He must therefore prove that a material defect occurred because the buyer did or did not do something.

After the first six months to two years after delivery of the purchased item: Here the buyer has to prove that there was a defect from the start.

By the way, if both agree that the deficiency existed from the start, then there is no need for proof. So you should definitely first of all if there are any defects Repair or new delivery desire. We provide a free sample letter for this.

Have the dealer give assurances in writing

Even after six months after the purchase or delivery of the goods, it should be sufficient in our opinion to demonstrate that the device has been properly handled. The buyer should make it clear to the seller that he has used the item properly - for example in the context of the operating instructions - and has thus not caused the defect. In practice, however, it happens that dealers reject the warranty after the six months have expired, stating that the buyer must first prove the defect in a specific case. The consumer can often only do this with an expert opinion.

In order to be able to survive in court, the buyer should obtain all important assurances from the dealer in writing. If the seller refuses, caution is advised. Witnesses can be useful in the negotiations. Payments should always be made against a receipt. But the seller can also ask that you confirm receipt of the goods.


Consumer advice center NRW

Liability for material defects for wear parts

The law does not recognize "wearing parts". Whether the seller is liable for the defect in a product depends solely on whether there is a material defect and whether this fault / defect already existed or was in the bud when the product was handed over to the buyer.

As an example: a tire on a new car. It bursts after a few thousand kilometers because the rubber mix is ​​unclean. The rolling of the tire on the road brought this previously undetectable error to the fore. In this case, the seller is liable for the defect because he was there when he sold the car.

However, the seller does not have to pay for the normal wear and tear of parts that are subject to wear and tear. In practice this can of course lead to a dispute, because the distinction between "wear and tear" and a material defect is often anything but easy. According to the law, an item (goods) is free from material defects if it is suitable for normal use and has a quality that is usual for items of the same type and that the buyer can expect depending on the type of item. When it comes to the question of whether there is a material defect or just "wear and tear", it always depends on what an average buyer could expect from the item in the specific situation. The exact circumstances in each case must then be taken into account, for example the purchase price.