European product guarantee directive

  TOPCAT® 13:27 30 Nov 05

Listening to Radio 4 the other morning I was intrigued to hear this German lady MEP speaking about product warranties in Britain. It seems she was/is living in this country and went out shopping. She bought an electric kettle, some other items and a digital camera, then asked the shop assistant about warranties. On being told it was for just one year she went on to tell all and sundry the minimum warranty term, as decreed by the EU, was now two years and the directive should have been implemented in the UK by January 2002.

Out of interest I looked around and find that she is correct, so why do we still see just a one year term on most things today?

The item is top of the list and can be viewed in Word or HTML. TC.

click here

  €dstowe 14:02 30 Nov 05

European Directives don't automatically become incorporated into UK law.

The UK continues to work under its own system of Statutory Instruments and all EU Directives are approved by the UK government before being published as these SI's. Until that time, EU Directives have no legal meaning in the UK.

I have searched the Cabinet Office website and haven't found a match to this Directive, although there are many hits using the keywords "consumer product guarantee"

  anchor 16:48 30 Nov 05

Just read this on: click here

"Liability arises where the defect becomes evident to the consumer within two years of delivery of the goods, unless the defect was or should have been apparent to the consumer at the time of the sale. Any defect apparent within six months of delivery is presumed to have existed at the time of delivery unless proof to the contrary is furnished or this is incompatible with the nature of the goods or the defect.

Since EC Directives are not directly effective under the law of the Member States, the Directive requires national governments to introduce implementing regulations to introduce the provisions of the Directive into national law by January 2002.

It is open to Member States to introduce more stringent protection of the consumer than that provided by the Directive".

It seems the UK has been rather tardy; almost 4 years late in its full implementation.

  SG Atlantis 19:54 30 Nov 05

I don't know how many times I've had things fail just outside the warranty!

  ade.h 21:47 30 Nov 05

It's the self-destruct timers that they put in them to get you to buy new stuff more often ;-)

  DieSse 22:13 30 Nov 05

I't been two years in Spain for just over 3 years now - from Oct 2002.


  spuds 10:15 01 Dec 05

These extra incentives tend to get overlooked, especially if it is in the added consumer advantage listing. Still cannot understand how we UK Europeans are constantly told that we have the best consumer laws, safeguarding our every genuine complaint, when you keep reading things like this.

  €dstowe 10:35 01 Dec 05

"Still cannot understand how we UK Europeans are constantly told that we have the best consumer laws, safeguarding our every genuine complaint, when you keep reading things like this."

It's the same as we're constantly being told we have the best of everything else (e.g. pensions) when a quick look at our neighbouring countries will show that to be blatantly untrue.

  Pidder 14:32 01 Dec 05

Perhaps Tony doesn't know, what about all of us writing to him?

  Deadlcok 21:26 06 Dec 05

The German MEP has got it almost completely wrong and has done the English system a complete dis-service here. The directive to which she refers HAS been implemented into UK law by Statutory Instrument. As an MEP resident in the UK, she should know this.

The reason this directive is not big news is that UK consumers have had greater rights regarding faulty goods since the Sale of Goods Act was passed in 1979. It has actually taken Europe over 20 years to (almost) catch up.

The two-year period actually has nothing to do with guarantees (a one-year guarantee is a discretionary contract provided by the manufacturer, which forms a separate agreement between you and them). UK law actually implies terms into every consumer sale, to include that goods must be of satisfactory quality, regardless of any warranty/guarantee. Technically, you could still claim a replacement TV from the shop you bought it from in 2001 if it becomes faulty (depending on the actual facts, i.e. cost, usage etc). In the UK you have up to 6 years to pursue a claim of repair/replacement for faulty goods - in Europe the minimum is 2 years.

There's no need to write to Tony, you already had better rights than this MEP experienced in Germany.

  Pidder 10:59 07 Dec 05

You obviously speak with authority. Can one rely on this situation or would the Courts still fall back on SOGA?

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