No Damages for Use During Warranty

The European Court of Justice passed a judgment on April 17, 2008 (re: 2006/C 310/09) Federation of German Consumer Organisation (vzbv) requested to judge if consumers have to pay for the use of defect products when exchanging them for new ones.


The mail ordering company Quelle sued a customer for € 70 as a fee for using the sold oven for one and a half years until the enameled coating came off.

The court held that vendors may not demand a fee for wear and tear of a product that turns out to be defect. This has been the law so far in Germany. A business may ask for such reimbursement when the product has been in use for two years or more. The normal warranty period is two years in Germany but often producers give a voluntary guarantee period that lasts longer. This case law is only valid for consumer goods. The judges held that the vendor is liable for every breach of contract at the time of delivery. Therefore, the customer can demand a free repair or exchange. On the other hand, the selling company is also protected, as it will not have to repair a defect when it has a to burden of “unreasonable” costs .

Since European law overrules German national law, the question arises: “What happens to those customers that have already paid. The German Federal Court of Justice will have to judge on this. Whatever, that decision might be, whenever such fee has been paid more than two years ago, the statute of limitations means it is too late.

Published on the old CMS: 2008/8/29
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 1,358 reads

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