Consumer sales – consequences of non-response to the consumer’s claims

The seller is obliged to respond to the consumer’s claims (for replacement or repair of the item or for price reduction) within 14 days. If the seller does not respond within that time limit, it is assumed they have accepted the claim.

 

An example: A car was bought for PLN 70,000.00. The seller assured the buyer that the car was fitted with heated seats. The consumer submitted a complaint to the seller indicating that the seat heating did not work and that the price of the car should be reduced by PLN 15,000.00. The seller did not respond within 14 days. In such a situation the seller will not be able to say that the seat heating malfunction reduces the value of the car only by PLN 2,000.00 (even if that is objectively true). Similarly, the seller will not be able to seek to prove that the seat heating functioned properly.

 

By failing to respond to a complaint within 14 days the seller becomes unable to defend its position, even if the consumer is wrong. It needs to be emphasized that the response should reach the consumer within 14 days. The  Civil Code does not state that posting a registered letter within the said time limit will be sufficient. Thus, one should not wait until the last day to respond. It is also advisable to send a response not only by post, but also by electronic mail, because an email reaches the addressee’s inbox instantaneously.