Analysis

New guarantee granting principles 

Legal alert (1/2015)

On 25 December 2014, the Act on Consumer Rights of 30 May 2014 (Journal of Laws of 2014, item 827) entered into force. It provides general regulations regarding each sale agreement, and amends the principles of granting guarantees.

The Act on Consumer Rights of 30 May 2014, effective since 25 December 2014 (Journal of Laws of 2014, item 827) not only regulates relations between entrepreneurs and consumers, but also includes provisions regarding each sale agreement, regardless whether or not the buyer enters the transaction in relation to business operations or professional activity.

Provisions amending Article 577 and subsequent articles of the Civil Code provide an example of such general regulations.

Before, a guarantee was granted in the form of a guarantee document issued by the seller to the buyer, in which the guarantor (usually, the manufacturer) committed to remove a physical defect or supply a non-defective item if such a defect was discovered within the guarantee period.

At present, although the buyer may request the issue of such a document on paper or another durable carrier, a guarantee is granted in the form of a statement made in any form, describing obligations of the guarantor and rights of the buyer if the item sold does not possess the characteristics included in the statement. The legislator has indicated that a guarantee statement may be included in an advertisement. Consequently, improperly prepared marketing materials may give rise to a risk of assuming a guarantee obligation against actual intent of the entity commissioning the issue/broadcasting of such materials.

The guarantor is obliged to make the guarantee statement in a clear and understandable form, and if possible, in an easily understood graphic form.

The contents of the statement shall be in Polish and include key information necessary to exercise the rights arising from the guarantee, in particular:

  • name and address of the guarantor or its representative in the Republic of Poland;
  • duration and territorial scope of the guarantee;
  • client’s rights in the case of detecting a defect;
  • statement that the guarantee does not exclude, limit or suspend the rights of the buyer arising from regulations regarding the warranty for defects of an item sold.

Please note that pursuant to the amendment, failure to meet the above requirements does not nullify the guarantee statement or deprive clients of the resultant rights.

Consequently, the tactics of omitting certain statutory statements in order to limit the liability arising from a guarantee may prove ineffective, and advertisement presenting goods in an untrue manner may generate considerable additional expenses.

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