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Faulty goods

Have you received faulty goods? What can you do about it?

The answer in detail

What to do if I receive defective goods?

If an item has significant defects, you as purchaser can essentially make a warranty claim against the seller. An item is deemed to be faulty if it has physical or legal defects that nullify or impair its value or suitability, or if an advertised feature is missing. In such cases, you have the option of withdrawing from the contract or demanding a price reduction. We explain the details. 

What is a warranty?

A warranty means that the seller is obligated to transfer the sold item as agreed and without any defects. 

What is considered to be a defect?

A defect is deemed to exist if either 

  • the item deviates from the contractually owed state (for example, if it is not the agreed color)
  • a feature needed for use is missing (for example, if the car is missing the steering wheel)
  • or if an agreed feature is missing (for example, if the car was repainted contrary to the agreement).

What can I do about a defect?

If you have received the purchased item, you must check it immediately, and if you notice any defects, report these immediately. 

What do you mean by “check it immediately”?

This depends on the circumstance and type of item purchased. Recognizable defects should be reported within two to three days after transfer and hidden defects two to three days after the defect has been detected. According to the law, you have a total of two years’ time unless the warranty was contractually excluded. 

What should I do after I report the defect?

You can either rescind the purchase (return), require a decrease in the purchase price (reduction), or for an item that is not scarce, demand that a defect-free replacement be sent.  

What specifically should I do?

After you have checked the functionality of the item upon receipt and have detected a defect, you must report it by lodging a complaint. It is best to do this in writing by registered letter. This way you can prove at a later date that you sent the compliant in good time. In the case of a complaint, you do not yet need to decide whether you want to return the item, have a reduction in the price, or receive a replacement. You must also submit any legal action within the two-year legal period if you are unable to find a solution with the seller. 

Below, you will find our fact sheets with sample letters for lodging a complaint and exercising your right to choose (return, reduction, or replacement) for download.

Important documents
Vorlage Mängelrüge
Vorlage Brief Minderung des Kaufpreises
Vorlage Wandelung Kaufvertrag