Complaint – warranty and guarantee
When filing a complaint about the goods, consumers may choose the legal basis of their claims, namely warranty or guarantee.
Every seller is liable based on warranty for physical defects (non-conformity with the contract) or legal defects of the sold consumer goods.
If a defect is found within 2 years from the moment of the goods provision (except for real property, where the liability period is 5 years).
Goods are in conformity with the contract if they:
- comply with the description given by the seller
- comply with the sample or with the model presented to the consumer
- are fit for any particular purpose of the consumer, which he made known to the seller
- possess the qualities normal in goods of the same type
- possess the qualities which the consumer can reasonably expect
- comply with public statements made by the seller, the producer or their representatives (e.g. in advertising or on labelling).
The seller is not liable for the lack of conformity of goods with the contract, if the consumer was aware of the lack of conformity upon contract conclusion, or if the lack of conformity has its origin in rials supplied by the consumer.
Pursuant to the EU regulations, Member States may provide that, in order to benefit from his rights, the consumer must inform the seller of the lack of conmateformity within a period of two months from the date on which he detected such lack of conformity. In the Polish law, the time limit was extended to one year.
In addition, unless the EU Member States decided otherwise, any lack of conformity which becomes apparent within six months of delivery is presumed to have existed at the time of delivery. The Polish legislator went further and extended the said period to one year.
The Polish law specifies the maximum period, i.e. 14 days for the trader to reply to the received consumer complaint. If the consumer requires replacement or repair, or price reduction, and does not receive a reply within the time limit, his claims are considered justified.
What can the consumer require under warranty?
The consumer may require:
- repair or replacement of the goods
- appropriate price reduction or withdrawal from the contract
If the buyer first requires appropriate price reduction or withdrawal from the contract, the trader may not accept such claim. In such case, the seller must, immediately and without significant inconvenience to the buyer, replace the defective goods to the good free from defect, or remove the defect.
Any repair or replacement of the goods should be completed within a reasonable time and is free of charge.
Remember that the consumer may withdraw from the contract only if the lack of conformity of the goods with the contract is significant. If the defect which became apparent is not significant, the consumer has the right to use other possible solutions.
Guarantee is, apart from warranty, one of the basis for filing a complaint. It is a voluntary statement about the quality of goods made by the trader, i.e. guarantor. A guarantor may be a producer, importer, distributor or seller.
A guarantee document should, as a minimum, specify:
- name and address of the guarantor
- territorial scope
- guarantee duration
- other basic data required to pursue claims under guarantee
The rules governing the complaints made under guarantee depend on the guarantee document provisions. In accordance with Polish law, if the guarantee declaration does not provide for a date, the trader shall perform his/her obligations immediately, but not later than within 14 days.
If the guarantee does not provide for another date, the guarantee period is 2 years from the date when the guarantee was issued to the buyer.
If it is impossible to execute a guarantee claim, the consumer still has the right to complain under warranty.
NOTE: The terms “European guarantee” and “international guarantee” are not legal terms. It is a common name for a guarantee document whose scope is defined as Europe/European Union or by specifying any countries of the world, respectively. Therefore, before making a purchase you need to check the territorial scope of guarantee.