Warranty

Warranty is the fundamental regime of liability for physical and legal defects in a sold item. The buyer’s warranty rights and the seller’s obligations are stipulated in the  Civil Code.

 

Warranty liability arises irrespectively of  guarantee liability. If a guarantee has been given, the buyer can freely choose whether to exercise their warranty or guarantee rights. Selection of one of the options does not waive the other option, should the first one prove ineffective. For instance, if it turns out that the guarantee period has expired, but the period for making  warranty claims has not yet lapsed, the buyer can use the other option, despite having made guarantee claims first.

 

However, making guarantee claims affects the time limits for making warranty claims. Upon commencement of the guarantee procedure (notification of the seller about the defect), warranty time limits become suspended. They will start running again on the date of refusal to fulfill guarantee obligations or upon the lapse of the period intended for such fulfillment. In simple terms – commencing the guarantee procedure suspends the time limits allowed for exercising warranty rights. The purpose is to avoid a situation in which a failed attempt at exercising guarantee rights has an adverse effect on one’s right to make warranty claims.

 

Warranty makes the seller  liable for  physical defects and  legal defects of a sold item. However, the liability is waived if the buyer is aware of the defect: a) upon concluding the contract, if the transaction covers identifiable items (i.e. if already at the stage of concluding the contract it is possible to identify the item, for instance if the contract specifies its serial number); b) upon issuing the item to the buyer, if the transaction covers items of a certain type (e.g. sale of a specific model of a TV – until the product is issued, the buyer does not know which particular item from the warehouse will become their property) or items that are not yet manufactured.

 

The above is in keeping with the principle volenti non fit iniuria (“to a willing person, injury is not done”) – if the buyer knowingly buys a defective item and does not object to it, they cannot make claims against the seller later on.

 

The seller is liable only for those  physical defects that exist in or are caused by reasons inherent to the item upon transferring the risk to the buyer (usually upon issuing the item). Thus, warranty specifically does not cover accidental damage occurring after issuing the item to the buyer. However, it does cover defects that exist but are not identified upon issuing.

 

An example: A tire bursts after the buyer has driven fifty miles. If the underlying reason was inappropriate material or poor workmanship, the seller will be liable despite the fact that the defect was not obvious upon issuing the tire to the buyer (who even managed to drive fifty miles). However, if the reason for the defect was the fact that the tire hit a nail, the seller will not be liable.

 

In the case of consumer sales, the buyer enjoys a favorable  presumption regarding the moment on which the defect occurred.