Sales and guarantees
Sellers of consumer goods within the EU are obliged to guarantee the conformity of the goods with a contract, for a period of two years after the delivery of the goods.
Certain standards exist for assessing when conformity can be assumed and when not. If the goods are not delivered in conformity with the sales contract, consumers can ask for the goods to be repaired, replaced, and reduced in price or for the contract to be rescinded.
The final seller, who is responsible to the consumer, can also hold the producer liable in their business relationship.
Directive on Consumer Sales and Guarantees
The Directive on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees aims to harmonise those parts of consumer sales contract law that concern legal guarantees (warranties) and, to a lesser extent, commercial guarantees.
EU countries can require consumers to inform the seller of the lack of conformity within two months after its discovery. A commercial guarantee must be clearly drafted and indicate what rights it gives on top of consumers' legal guarantees.
In 2007 the Commission published a Communication on the Implementation of the Directive on Sale of Consumer Goods and Guarantees.
Its purpose is to examine how EU countries have implemented the Directive. It includes an analysis of the case for introducing direct producers' liability. This communication forms part of the process of reviewing the consumer acquis.
In December 2009 the Commission conducted the Eurobarometer qualitative study on sales remedies .
The study provides analysis of consumers' behaviour and preferences in relation to different sales remedies (i.e. repair, replacement, reduction of price and contract rescission).
The Directive is part of the ongoing Fitness Check of the EU consumer and marketing law.