Data Destroyed while Repairing

So, it has happened to you, too. The apparatus you rely on most, your computer, is broken. After you took it in to be repaired, the shop called all to inform you that the computer’s hard disk was accidentally destroyed. All your data is forever lost. What are your rights? This article will discuss them in a nutshell.


Of course, you are generally entitled to damages because data is also property, and persons who damage your property must compensate for it. But your computer dealer will most likely have his standard terms, which contain a clause stating that this company will not be held liable for ensuing damages. This is not the final word, however.

The BGH recently ruled that such stipulations are null and void (re X ZR 133/03). The judges determined that producers or vendors are liable if a faulty product creates damage to someone else’s property. The same goes for flawed repairs.

First of all, demand – preferably in writing – to have the repair costs refunded or advanced and refer to the above – mentioned decision. If the salesperson still does not give in, then you will have to enforce your rights. You have two options. You can try the mediation office (Schlichtungsstelle) at your local chamber of industry and commerce (Industrie- und Handelskammer). The second option is to consult an attorney whom you trust. His costs for demanding the refund of repair costs are part of your damages and are also to be refunded.

However, if you are not a private person, then you will have to have taken some precautions. You are expected to make daily backups of your system. If you were too lazy to do so, which is very common, then you will share part of the blame. Contributory negligence implies that you will have to bear part of your own damages.

Published on the old CMS: 2007/2/11
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 82 reads

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