Two-year warranty EU law Directive 1999-44-EC May 1999

‘A two-year guarantee applies for the sale of all consumer goods everywhere in the EU. In some countries, this may be more, and some manufacturers also choose to offer a longer warranty period.’

As with UK law, a seller is not bound by the guarantee ‘if the (fault) has its origin in materials supplied by the consumer’. But the EU rule does not require the buyer to show the fault is inherent in the product and not down to their actions.

The EU rule also says buyers need to report a problem within two months of discovering it if they want to be covered under the rule.

How can I use this rule?

Reports of cases where shoppers have used the EU rule to get refunds suggest that even senior staff at stores may be unaware of it, so be prepared for some blank faces if you need to use it to argue your case. But eventually, after referring the complaint to legal teams, reports suggest the stores have coughed up.

Use this checklist to see if you could try and use the EU rule:

• The goods were purchased no longer than two years ago
• The store will not provide a refund or repair because you are returning the item after their return period has ended, usually one year
• You are reporting the fault within two months of discovering it
• The goods show no signs of damage through your actions or misuse.

The best advice is to print off the EU rule and take a copy with you. If staff fail to recognise it, ask them to take your details and report your complaint to their bosses. Take a note of the names of any staff you speak to and explain that you will contact them again soon for a response.

You may manage to get your refund on the basis of the EU directive, however, shops are within their rights to use the Sale of Goods Act as the definitive guideline instead.

What about warranties? Do I still need one?

The EU rule, while extending the guarantees for shoppers does not necessarily mean warranties have no value. Under a warranty you may get extra protection against accidental damage that would not be covered by the UK or EU regulations.

With or without the extra guarantee of the EU directive, warranties can be expensive and you should be clear about the value of any potential benefits before deciding to take one.

Click link below to print or save 3 page EU directive

Two-year warranty EU law Directive 1999-44-EC May 1999

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