Defective goods and warranty
If I buy a digital camera from another EU country, can I demand that the vendor supplies me with a user manual in Finnish?
Under Finnish laws, consumers have a right to demand that a user manual be provided in Finnish and Swedish. Goods are deemed to be defective if sufficient user information has not been provided in the official languages of Finland.
The same does not apply in other EU countries. Before you buy a camera from abroad, check in which languages user manuals are available. The same goes for foreign online stores that do not have a website in Finnish. However, if an online store advertises in Finland and has a website in Finnish and offers customer service in Finnish, it must also provide a user manual in Finnish, even if the goods are shipped from France.
A television that I bought two and a half years ago from Germany has stopped working. The warranty on it has run out. What should I do?
If you bought the television from a store while in Germany, you unfortunately have no right to compensation from either the vendor or the manufacturer. In Germany, like in many other EU countries, vendors’ liability for goods that they have sold ends after two years. Manufacturers also have no statutory liability for goods.
However, if you ordered the television by means of distance selling (from an online store, a mail order catalogue or a shopping channel) from a German vendor who markets their goods in Finland and if you were in Finland when you placed your order and paid for the goods, your situation could come under Finnish law. Vendors’ liability is not limited in Finland but determined according to the useful life of the goods. It would probably be fair to expect a television to last for more than two and a half years. You can therefore send a complaint to the vendor and ask them to fix your television.
A camera that I bought from another EU country no longer works. The vendor has gone out of business and the warranty has expired. Can I ask for compensation from the manufacturer?
In Finland, consumers can turn to the vendor’s supplier, i.e. the importer or the manufacturer, in these kinds of circumstances. This is not the case in many other EU countries, such as in Germany, if no warranty was given or if it has expired.
You can find out more by contacting the European Consumer Centre. You can also write to the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s representative and ask for an extended warranty. Manufacturers sometimes offer compensation or agree to repair faulty goods even when they have no legal obligation to do so, if it is clear that a product or its part should have lasted for a considerably longer period of time or if it appears likely that the fault is due to a manufacturing defect.
I ordered a bag from an Italian online store a month ago. The clasp on the bag is broken. Can I get my money back?
If a product has a defect for which the vendor is liable, the vendor has a right to attempt to rectify the defect or offer to replace the product. You can only ask for your money back if the defect cannot be rectified by repairing or replacing the product or by giving you a discount and if the defect is not of minor significance. It is worth remembering that the vendor is also responsible for the costs of repairs and postage.
Can I get a product that I bought from another EU country online or while on holiday repaired under warranty through a Finnish importer?
Check the warranty document for a list of authorised repair shops first. If there is no authorised repair shop in Finland, you can contact the Finnish importer.
If the goods were purchased from a vendor based in the EU and you cannot get the defect rectified under warranty through the importer, you can send a complaint to the manufacturer. If the goods were sold with a manufacturer’s warranty, the manufacturer has an obligation to ensure that a warranty given in one EU Member State is also honoured in other Member States.
You also have a statutory right to complain to the vendor. If a product has a defect for which the vendor is liable, you can ask the vendor to either repair or replace it. In the case of goods purchased within the EU, the vendor is always liable for any defects that were already there at the time of purchase. However, the liability period varies from country to country. For example, some EU countries have capped the maximum liability period at two years. Vendors’ liability for defects also covers the costs of getting the goods to a repair shop.