13 March 2015
We are constantly contacted by consumers inquiring about their rights when they have bought a product in Spain, Germany or elsewhere in Europe that is defective or unexpectedly breaks down. Consumers ask what warranty rights they have. However, few are aware of the differences between a warranty and a seller’s legal guarantee for defects.
The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) compared the differences in legal guarantee and commercial warranty schemes in European countries. The report, entitled “Commercial warranties – are they worth the money?”, was published near to 15 March, the International Consumer Rights Day.
On the basis of a seller’s legal guarantee for defects, a consumer can demand that a defective product be repaired, exchanged or discounted, or that the transaction be cancelled subject to certain conditions. On the other hand, a warranty is voluntary and does not have to be granted. Increasingly often, consumers have to pay for warranties, especially in Central Europe.
A commercial warranty can be considered on a case-by-case basis
According to the report, not all commercial "warranties" provide greater coverage than legal guarantees, and they include numerous restrictions. A commercial warranty is most useful if it covers product faults caused by accidents or misuse.
See the ECC-Net report for more information if you shop outside Finland, whether online or in brick-and-mortar stores. Our report indicates the durations and differences in the content of legal guarantees for defects in different EU countries, Norway and Iceland. The report also includes a checklist that you can use when considering whether it would be worth it to pay for commercial warranties, which have already become quite common especially in Central Europe. In such cases, you should consult the checklist for the country in question and the seller's country-specific information.
A large share of foreign companies that market their goods to Finnish consumers offer their products for sale on their Finnish-language websites. In such cases, the basic rule is that these companies are obligated to comply with Finnish legislation in their operations, and consumer rights are thus also determined on their basis of our legislation.