Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: No. of protocol 2294
    • Member State: Greece
    • Common Name:link
    • Decision type: Other
    • Decision date: 28/01/2013
    • Court: Ombudsman of the Consumer
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff: Unknown
    • Defendant: ACN S.A.
    • Keywords: consumer rights, guarantee, packaging, parts, repair
  • Directive Articles
    Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 3, 2. Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 3, 5. Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 3, 5., - Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 6 , 1. Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 6 , 2. Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 6 , 2., - Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 6 , 2., -
  • Headnote
    (1) If the seller or a third party has offered a guarantee for the good sold, then the buyer has against the guarantor the rights deriving from the guarantee. The conditions of the guarantee (or those included in the advertisement of the product) are additional to any other legal rights of the buyer. The guarantor provides a binding reassurance and assumes the relevant responsibility that the good sold would not have specific defects or (in vitro) that it will have specific properties for a certain period of time. With regard to the commercial guarantee it is not of an interest whether the defect that caused the malfunction existed at the time of transition of the risk to the buyer or not.

    (2) The law that implemented directive 1999/44/EC introduced the obligation to provide a compulsory written guarantee for new products with a long life span (durable consumer goods). The guarantee is binding for the guarantor in accordance with the conditions laid down in it. The content of the guarantee, its conditions and restrictions as well as any other formality should be defined in the printed guarantee document that should be handed over to the buyer – consumer.

    (3) If the product is replaced in whole or its spare parts, the guarantee is automatically renewed for all its duration for the new product or for the spare part.

  • Facts
    The plaintiff bought from a mechanical engineer six factory-manufactured heat pumps, type MIDEA (whose representative in Greece is the defendant) on the 13.03.2010. The products started to operate only in 2011 after being installed in the building that the plaintiff was constructing.
    However, on the 02.07.2012 one heat pump started making an unusual noise. So the plaintiff called the mechanical engineer, who in turn recommended to consult a technician. After the technician had diagnosed that the problem occurred in the exchanger and the compressor, the plaintiff turned to the defendant (being the representative of the product in Greece) and requested to carry out a repair or a replacement of the corresponding parts, under the factory/manufacture warranty. However, the defendant rejected the plaintiff’s request on the grounds that the damage was due to a problem in the water pressure in the circuit. In addition, the defendant claimed that the guarantee of the heat pump had a duration of two years and thus, it had already expired (given that the defendant had sold the heat pumps to the mechanical engineer on the 24.12.2009, who in turn resold them to the plaintiff on 13.03.2010). The court sent a letter to the defendant pointing out that in the written guarantee that existed in the packaging of the product, the duration of the guarantee was five years for the compressor pump, whereas for the rest of the parts the guarantee was one year. The defendant responded that the above warranty durations are for SPLIT UNITS type machines, instead of central air conditioning (like the one in question). Also he argued that in any case the defect was due to the exchanger, which had a one-year warranty.
    In addition the defendant argued that the loss of the compressor came as a result of a non-early detection of the problem and therefore the defendant cannot replace any parts free of charge, as it considers that the guarantee had expired.

  • Legal issue
    The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the guarantee duration covered just the SPLIT UNITS type machines. It held that since the 5 year duration of guarantee was mentioned in the product’s package, this covered the specific product too. Moreover, the court argued that the plaintiff had carried out the annual service of the product according to the conditions set in the guarantee. Thus, the court found that the defendant breached the terms of the guarantee by refusing to replace the pump compressor, especially since the plaintiff had complied with the product’s service requirements thereof. In addition, it assumed that the proof of breach of the gurantee must be borne by the supplier, who claims that the guarantee is invalid towards the consumer. In any case the defendant failed to prove the invalidity of the guarantee.

  • Decision

    (1) What is the content of the legal guarantee?

    (2) Is there any legal obligation to provide a written guarantee for new products with a long life (durable consumer goods)?

    (3) How does the guarantee apply in case a spare part is replaced with a new one?


    Full text: Full text

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  • Result
    The court recommended to the defendant to replace the compressor of the heat pump in the context of the factory warranty and called the defendant to notify the court in written, whether it accepts the present recommendation (plaintiff’s request was granted).