Information obligation by commercial warranty

The seller has several obligations with regard to the timing of provision of information, the form to be respected and the content of the commercial warranty:

  • 22 countries normally require a written warranty document for off- and on-premises contracts. A durable format is accepted at the consumer’s request in 20 countries.
  • In 15 Member States, it is a legal requirement that the commercial warranty be explained in plain, simple, clear, comprehensive and understandable terms.
  • The use of the national language is requested in 9 countries at least.

During check the ECCs investigated whether and how consumers are informed about the legal guarantee and commercial warranties and found that information was often unclear or incomplete, especially on the legal guarantee.

  • 3/4 of online checks and 2/3 of checks on premises revealed unsatisfactory provision of information on the legal guarantee.
  • Only in 50 of 202 cases (24.57%) was a reference to the legal guarantee included in the product description.
  • Online, in 21.14% of cases, the information was directly accessible at the specific product page and not hidden in the terms and conditions. In the shops, in 30.38% of cases was a reference to the legal guarantee visibly included in the product description.

The ECCs therefore had to look more deeply into the information available and question the sales agents in order to get more information.

  • When searching for the provider of the advertised commercial warranty, in only 60.16% of cases online was it possible to find this out.
  • In 66.67% of cases, consumers were not clearly informed about how to return a defective item to the seller.
  • In 33 of 79 checks in shops (41.77%), the duration of the legal guarantee was given or could be determined by the ECC. In 25 cases, correct information (2 years or 3 years) was provided. In one case the duration was indicated incorrectly as “maybe 12 months”, and in another as 5 years.