Buying in Europe
When you buy a product in Europe, you have warranty if the product is broken or if you were expecting something else. This is known as a “faulty product.” In that case, you can demand that the seller repairs or replaces the product. In some cases, you have a right to a refund of (part of) the purchase price. Take note of the exceptions to these rules and the periods that apply to your right to warranty.
This theme contains more information about this topic. You can also read more about the European regulations regarding purchases made off premises, e.g. at your door or on the street.
What are the rules?
Good to know
What information does the seller have to provide in the shop?
The seller is required to provide you with the following information:
- The seller’s information: name, address and telephone number;
- The key characteristics of the product or service;
- The method of payment, delivery and execution of the agreement;
- The delivery time;
- The seller’s complaints procedure;
- Your right to a decent product.
- The seller’s warranty procedure.
When do I have a right to warranty?
You have a right to warranty if the product you purchased becomes faulty within a period of 2 years after the purchase. You must receive a product that is in accordance with what you agreed to in the purchase agreement. The following cases concern “faulty products:”
- Your purchase does not match the seller’s description and does not have the promised characteristics;
- Your purchase is not suitable for normal use, as with similar products;
- Your purchase is not suitable for the specific use that you mentioned beforehand;
- Your purchase does not offer the quality or performances that you might expect.
This right to legal warranty applies anywhere in Europe and can never be limited by any manufacturer warranty. The seller must repair or replace a product free of charge during the warranty period. They must do so within a reasonable amount of time and without seriously inconveniencing you.
You only have a right to warranty if the fault was not caused by you. If the fault arises within 6 months after the date of purchase, it is assumed that the fault was already present when you bought the product. This is known as the “conformity requirement.” This requirement does not apply if the seller can prove that you caused the fault.
If the fault arises after six months yet within the legal 24-month warranty period, you have to prove that you did not cause the fault. This will often lead to a difficult discussion between you and the seller. Research conducted by an independent expert can resolve this situation. The costs of this research are for the account of whomever is liable for the fault.
In what situations can I terminate my agreement if a product is faulty?
In some situations, you have a right to terminate the purchase agreement. By doing so, you withdraw the purchase. The seller has a right to the product and you have a right to a refund if:
- Repair or replacement is not possible;
- Repair or replacement would lead to unreasonably high costs for the seller;
- The seller waits too long to offer you a solution;
- The offered solution would seriously inconvenience you;
- The product has been repaired or replaced multiple times, yet this has not resolved the fault.
You can also opt to receive a reasonable price reduction.
I bought a product online. Who carries the risk?
From the moment you receive the product, you carry the risk. This also applies when the product was accepted by someone you appointed, e.g. your neighbours. Until that time, the seller carries the risk. They are responsible for any damage to the product during shipment. If you choose your own transporter, other than the one offered by the seller, you carry the risk from the moment that the transporter receives the product.
Is the seller required to send me a confirmation?
When you enter into an agreement off premises, for example by making a purchase, the seller is required to give you a copy of the signed agreement or a confirmation on paper. It may also come on a different durable medium, if you consent to this. A durable medium allows you to download or print the information.
If you purchase a digital product that can be used immediately, you must clearly waive your right to a cooling-off period in a statement. This statement must be included in the confirmation.