Update on the provisions on statutory warranty – learn about the most important changes effective as of 1 January 2023.
As of 1 January 2023, new statutory warranty provisions enacted by the Consumer Rights Act of 4 November 2022 started to take effect. The changes are due to the need to implement EU directives (so-called: the Digital Content Directive and the Sale of Goods Directive) into the Polish legal order – the main modifications are presented by our expert Piotr Płaksej, advocate at our Tias legal and accounting office.
Amendment of the provisions on statutory warranty
The most significant change introduced by the above act is regulated in the statutory warranty in consumer – entrepreneur relations.
Currently, the issues of consumer rights in the event of occurrence of defects in purchased goods are regulated by the provisions of chapter 5a of the Consumer Rights Act [ustawa o prawach konsumenta]. Again, we have a situation in which the provisions of the Civil Code on the statutory warranty will not apply to the contracts made with consumers. However, this does not mean that the consumers do not have any warranty rights, since the Consumer Rights Act also uses the concept of statutory warranty in relation to consumer rights.
Moreover, in consumer transactions, the legislator has decided to replace the concept of ‘things’ with a more precise term ‘goods’. The Consumer Rights Act explicitly refers to contracts obliging to transfer ownership of the goods. It is clear from the definition of goods that it is a moveable. It cannot therefore be considered that the amended provisions will apply to the contracts requiring the transfer of ownership of immoveable property. Thus, in this respect – exceptionally – it will be necessary to refer to the provisions of law on the statutory warranty under the Civil Code.
Non-conformity of goods with the contract
Another significant change is the abandonment of the division of defects into physical and legal defects. From 1 January 2023, it is necessary to use the uniform concept of a defect, according to which it simply consists of non-conformity of the goods sold with the contract.
As a result of the amendment in question, some of the terms relating to the exercise of consumer rights under the statutory warranty regime have also changed. Claims for the removal of a defect or for replacement will be time-barred upon the expiry of the general limitation period for claims. In principle, in non-commercial transactions, the limitation period will therefore take place after six years and not after one year, as was the case before 1 January 2023. In addition, the legislator extended to two years the presumption that the non-conformity of the goods already existed at the time of purchase. Moreover, in the case of used items, the entrepreneur will no longer be able to shorten this time to a year. Furthermore, we could not ignore the fact that the updated provisions set out the order in which the consumer should report their individual rights. In the first place, the consumer has the possibility to submit a claim for repair or replacement of the goods, and only after the fulfillment of certain conditions will they be able to claim a reduction in the price or withdrawal from the contract. Immediate submission of a declaration of price reduction or withdrawal from the contract would be possible only if the defectiveness of the item is so significant that the repair would be impossible, inappropriate from the point of view of its cost-effectiveness or excessively burdensome for the consumer.
Additional, material changes
Other changes introduced by the amendment include, among others, the maximum 14-day period for the return by the trader of the amount due as a result of exercising the right to reduce the price or as a result of withdrawal from the contract, the obligation to collect the goods from the consumer at the entrepreneur’s expense and the possibility of refraining from paying for the goods until the trader fulfills statutory obligations.
In addition, it is worth noting that according to the amended Consumer Rights Act, in certain cases the entrepreneur will not be liable for the lack of conformity of the goods with the contract. This is the case where the consumer, at the latest at the time of the conclusion of the contract, has been expressly informed that the specific characteristic of the goods deviates from the requirements of conformity with the contract and, moreover, has expressly and separately accepted the lack of a specific characteristic of the goods.
The last issue to be clarified is the application of the updated regulations to contracts concluded before 1 January 2023. The transitional provisions clearly indicate that to contracts requiring the transfer of ownership of goods concluded before the date of entry into force of the Act of 4 November 2022 amending the Consumer Rights Act, the law – the Polish Civil Code and the Private International Law Act, the current regulations shall apply. This means that in the case of final contracts concluded after 1 January 2023, which constitute the implementation of pre-existing preliminary contracts, issues of defective property will be regulated in the version prior to the amendments.
The aim of the new regulation is to strengthen consumers’ rights and increase their safety when shopping. Under the new regulations, sellers will have to guarantee their products for a period of at least 2 years and the consumer, at the same time, will have the right to have the goods repaired or replaced free of charge if the goods prove to be defective.
Thanks to the new regulations, consumers’ confidence in the products offered by sellers and the competitiveness of the market increases – sums up our expert Piotr Płaksej, advocate at Tias legal and accounting office.
Adwokat Piotr Płaksej, wpisany w 2009 roku na listę adwokatów Wrocławskiej Izby Adwokackiej. Absolwent studiów stacjonarnych prawa na Wydziale Prawa Administracji i Ekonomii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego. Ukończył również Program Prawa Międzynarodowego i Gospodarczego w ramach współpracy Wydziału Prawa i Administracji Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego oraz– Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. Następnie odbył aplikację sądową przy Sądzie Okręgowym we Wrocławiu. Od ukończenia studiów nieprzerwanie pracuje w kancelariach zajmujących się udzielaniem pomocy prawnej z zakresu prawa cywilnego i gospodarczego. W ramach współpracy z Klientami przeprowadził szereg szkoleń i seminariów z zakresu prawnych aspektów prowadzenia działalności gospodarczej w Polsce. Specjalizuje się w świadczeniu pomocy prawnej z zakresu realizacji inwestycji budowlanych, prawa zamówień publicznych i prawa spółek
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