Warranty or guarantee – which is more worthwhile?

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Ms. Anorak

1. Warranty and guarantee – the difference

To understand when it is better to rely on the legal warranty or a guarantee, you need to be able to distinguish between them.

Warranty claims are entitled to the consumer by law against the seller.

The guarantee is a voluntary promise of the manufacturer or the seller to the consumer – linked with the promise about the perfect condition of the goods.

Pursuant to Section 479 of the German Civil Code (BGB), a guarantee declaration must be drafted in a simple and comprehensible manner and must contain all essential information required for the assertion of the guarantee. This includes in particular the duration, content and territorial scope of the warranty as well as the name and address of the guarantor. If requested, the guarantee must be handed over to the consumer in text form.

A warranty is always in addition to the statutory warranty. It neither restricts nor invalidates the warranty.

2. Differences in warranties

There are two types of warranty:

With a quality guarantee, the manufacturer of an item guarantees a certain quality and freedom from defects at the time of handover, d. h. of the purchase.

With a durability guarantee, the manufacturer guarantees that the item will retain a certain quality for a certain period of time. Therefore, the functionality is promised during the warranty period.

When a warranty claim is made, the warranty document states what rights consumers have. A manufacturer’s warranty is usually directed at a claim for repair or replacement, but does not give the consumer a right of withdrawal.

3. Warranty or guarantee – which is better?

In order to be able to judge when it is better for consumers to derive claims from the warranty or the guarantee, it depends on when the defect in the purchased item occurs.

If this happens within the first six months from purchase, the warranty is usually better. Because in this period the consumer does not have to prove that the defect was present from the beginning. In addition, the material defect claims often go further than the claims under a warranty.

If the defect occurs – as in the case of the Blu-Ray player – after seven months, the manufacturer’s warranty could be better for the consumer. This is because a limitation period of three years usually applies to claims under the warranty. However, the warranty conditions, which are stated in the warranty document, must also be fulfilled.

In any case, it must be carefully checked which claims (warranty or guarantee) are to be asserted against whom (manufacturer or seller). Consumers who are unsure can obtain advice from the consumer advice center in Hesse (Verbraucherzentrale Hessen).V. get advice on this.

4. Special case "warranty extension

When buying electrical appliances, consumers are often offered so-called "warranty extensions". This is to extend the statutory warranty or. any repair costs that may be necessary or damage as a result of theft are covered. In fact, these are electrical appliance or repair insurance policies that have absolutely nothing to do with a manufacturer’s warranty.

These insurances are worthwhile in the rarest cases. The most common damage that can occur to electrical appliances is already covered by the statutory warranty rights, any manufacturer warranties that may have been given, or even household insurance, if this has been taken out.

In addition, the benefits of the electrical appliance insurance are often limited to the current value of the appliance, or. a deductible in the event of damage or waiting periods until the insurance kicks in can be agreed upon.

Repair costs are often only covered if there are no warranty claims against the dealer or the manufacturer – usually only after two or three years. Then, however, premiums have already been paid into the electrical appliance insurance month after month. And for the time after the warranty period has expired, the premiums for a repair insurance may be increased.

Even the travel expenses for the specialist who is to repair the washing machine, for example, are often not covered by repair insurance. In addition, if the device is replaced, you may have to accept a used model.


Electrical appliance or repair insurance that has already been taken out can be cancelled at the next possible cancellation date.

In addition, there are special cancellation rights in the event of a claim and price increases. But not every price increase is a price increase that allows this type of termination. If the insurance tax has been increased or if the price increase was accompanied by an improvement in services, there is no special right of termination.

5. Other sources of information

Information in the consumer window

What is important when you want to assert your statutory warranty claims is explained in the article "Warranty, Complaints, Guarantee, Part 1: Complaints and Warranty – What should be considered??"

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