Warranty and guarantee – what is the difference??

Warranty and guarantee are two terms that are often confused with each other. Not only do both terms mean fundamentally different things, but there are even differences whether a sales contract is concluded between a dealer and an end consumer or between two dealers. This article only deals with sales contracts between retailers and end users.

Warranty – what is it?

warranty is a legal obligation of the dealer – this is already the main difference to the voluntary warranty of a manufacturer. The warranty is limited in Germany for new goods to 24 months statutory and cannot be shortened or contractually excluded in the general terms and conditions of a seller. The purpose of the warranty is to oblige the seller at the conclusion of a sales contract that the sold goods without any defects and to the agreed terms delivered.

"Agreed conditions" therefore also means: If you buy a PC with the note "to be given to hobbyist hands", you may not complain afterwards about defective functioning. The seller guarantees that his goods at the time of sale there were no material defects or defects of title has. Therefore, the warranty regulates the claims that a buyer can make against the seller in case of defective goods.

reversal of the burden of proof after 6 months

In the event of defects, the buyer must make these claims (called a notice of defects) within the claim within the so-called warranty period (24 months). However, the following should be noted:

  • In the first six months the warranty must be provided by the seller or. dealer in the event of a claim by the customer to prove that his goods were free of defects at the time of purchase. This is exactly why it is important that customers complain about defects promptly. Because after the first six months, the seller’s burden of proof expires. Within the first 6 months, however, the dealer will usually replace the product without complaint.
  • From the 6. month it is up to the customer to make it clear beyond any doubt that he or she is not responsible for the defects of the purchased product, but that these may already have existed at the time of purchase. Since the hardly possible without an expert opinion you are completely on the Goodwill of the dealers instructed.

Warranty – what is it?

The warranty is not based on a legal regulation and is therefore no obligation for the seller. It is a voluntary, contractual service and can be regulated completely differently in the purchase contract depending on the dealer. The warranty can be both above or below the warranty, in most cases it is below it. Therefore, in the case of a guarantee, there are mostly no refund of the purchase price, but only one Reimbursement of repair costs. A warranty must also not necessarily have been agreed between the dealer and the end consumer, but Can also be granted directly by the manufacturer.

The only legal requirement is that if a warranty is given, it must be honored. The warranty is considered a promise by the dealer that the purchased product guarantees a certain functionality for a certain period of time. In this context, one also speaks of a Guarantee of quality or durability. A warranty can also be transferred to a third party or a third party. be transferred to a second-hand buyer.


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Defect within 6 months: What to do?

First of all you can Demand supplementary performance. This means that the product either refunded or repaired must be. The consumer advice center has a sample letter "Delivered/purchased goods are defective".

The seller must also bear additional costs that you have incurred in connection with the complaint, for example, by the transport. However, if the type of supplementary performance chosen by the buyer is associated with disproportionate costs, the dealer can also refuse it. This means that you may not, for example, for the return of a smartphone an expensive forwarding agent to hire. If the seller exchanges the goods, he may, by the way, demand the return of the defective goods. Alternatively, you can keep the only partially defective goods and demand a partial refund of the purchase price. If no agreement is reached with the seller on the amount of repayment, this must be determined by estimation.

If the seller does not fulfill his obligations several times, or if they are unreasonable for you, then you are allowed to also withdraw from the purchase contract. In special cases, you can also claim a so-called "compensation of futile expenses". This case comes into play if you have incurred consequential costs due to the defects of the goods, which are directly related to the defects of the goods. There is also a sample letter for this "Subsequent performance has failed".

Defect after 6 months: What to do?

As already mentioned, the situation here is difficult, because you actually have the burden of proof and probably without an expert in most cases can not prove that the defect already existed at the time of purchase. However, according to a survey, about 50% of companies are willing to be accommodating even after 6 months and not to demand proof from customers. This includes, among other things Aldi-Sud, Real and Rossmann, C&A, Deichmann and Tchibo.

Three other companies even stood out: With the announcement "we take back everything for three years", Kaufland topped even the two-year warranty period. Even five years the textile retailer Walbusch wants to return his goods without grumbling. Teufel guarantees the sound of loudspeakers in its online store for two to twelve years without any discords. Since "the question of warranty usually does not arise".

Big players like Saturn However, after six months, for example, they generally refer to existing manufacturer guarantees. If these do not apply, it is at the discretion of the individual store managers whether they offer a discount on new purchases or shopping vouchers as compensation for the defect.

Defect within the warranty period: What to do?

As with the warranty, you are also entitled to subsequent performance here. Again, the goods can be repaired or refunded and the retailer/manufacturer determines the type of subsequent performance. He also bears the costs associated with the subsequent performance, unless they are disproportionate. Even within a warranty, a dealer/manufacturer is allowed to demand the defective goods back in exchange for an equivalent, new product. If the dealer/manufacturer does not fulfill the warranty within a reasonable period of time set by you, you may repair the defective goods yourself and claim for the costs incurred by you.

Example: Amazon Warehousedeals – Warranty or Guarantee?

With the Warehousedeals Amazon offers heavily discounted products that have already been purchased and returned by customers. The goods are thoroughly checked by Amazon, but can still sometimes show defects. Also with these warehousedeals Amazon grants the usual warranty period of two years. In case of defects or deficiencies, Amazon will cover the cost of return and refund the product. Additional warranty services apply to used goods, however, only in exceptional cases, depending on the manufacturer. However, Amazon advertises favorable warranty extensions via its own partner insurance Ergo. Regardless of this, Amazon lets you within 14 days without giving reasons withdraw from the purchase contract by e-mail. Excluded from this are opened data carriers, downloads and foodstuffs. Also within 30 days after receipt of the order you can return products from the categories "electronics&" Photo", "Household& Garden", "Sports and Leisure" as well as hardware and accessories from the "Games" category can simply be returned. Up to a purchase price of 40 euros, however, you must pay the shipping costs themselves.


On the Amazon Marketplace is the 14-day return option only for commercial sellers possible. Whether a 30-day return is possible depends solely on the seller. Private sellers can formulate return options in their user profile, but they do not have to. In this case, Amazon offers its so-called "A-to-Z warranty. This can be invoked if you receive defective goods or goods that differ from the description, or if a seller still fails to deliver after 30 days and has not responded to your requests three days after the last possible expected delivery date. In such cases, Amazon refunds the purchase amounts independently and recovers them from the respective Marketplace seller.

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