How to write a warranty claim - a guide not only for buyers


The right to file a complaint and request replacement of the item with a free one without defects, repair of the defect or refund of the price, the consumer may use when he purchases an item that turns out to be defective or inconsistent with the contract (which was concluded by purchasing the item), i.e. has the so-calledphysical or legal defect. We present a concise guide - how to write a complaint under the warranty, i.e. non-compliance of the goods with the contract.

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Grounds for submitting a complaint

A complaint may be submitted on the basis of:

  1. legal provisions, i.e. warranty for physical or legal defects, in other words due to the non-compliance of the goods with the contract - these provisions always apply and the seller is legally obliged to comply with them. This claim is made to the seller and we refer to it as a warranty claim.

  2. manufacturer's warranty - if the manufacturer issued such a warranty. He is under no obligation to do so - it is only his good will. This claim is submitted to the manufacturer and we refer to it as a warranty claim.

A physical defect is the so-called non-compliance of the product with the contract. We can talk about a physical defect when:

  • the product does not have the properties it should have (e.g. the pen does not write, the glass breaks after pouring hot tea, the sole in the shoe comes off),

  • the product does not have properties that the seller has provided the buyer with, including presenting a sample or pattern (e.g. a pen does not write on a rough surface, and the seller assured it),

  • the product is not suitable for the purpose that the buyer informed the seller about when buying, and the seller did not raise any objections to such a purpose (e.g. when buying a watch, we say that we want to dive in it and the seller is silent about water resistance),

  • the product was released in an incomplete state (e.g. a phone without a charger).

A legal defect occurs when the sold item does not belong to the seller (another entity has the right to it). Therefore, we can talk about it when:

  • the item is owned by a third party (the seller is not the owner of the item being sold),

  • the item is encumbered with the right of a third party (e.g. it has a right of first refusal, redemption of the claim, as disclosed in the land and mortgage register),

  • there is a restriction in the use or disposal of the item resulting from a decision or ruling of the competent authority (the item is secured in criminal proceedings as evidence or is prohibited from sale issued in security proceedings),

  • a right that does not exist is being sold.

How to write a complaint and where to file it?

The regulations do not specify a specific form of submitting a warranty claim, but it is best to submit it in writing, making a copy for yourself.

The complaint under the warranty is always submitted to the seller in a given store (it does not have to be the same seller who stood at the counter on a given day and sold the defective goods). Complaints can be submitted in person or sent by post.

You can attach a receipt to the complaint - it will help to settle the matter more efficiently.

It is not required to attach a receipt to the complaint, it may only be useful in resolving the matter faster. The seller cannot make the acceptance of the complaint dependent on the receipt!

A receipt is one of many proofs of purchase of things in a given store and at a given price. Others are: witnesses, printouts from a payment or credit card, e-mails.

As in the case of a receipt, the seller cannot make the acceptance of the complaint conditional on the original packaging.

The letter of complaint should be submitted or sent together with the advertised goods.

How to write a complaint?

The complaint should include the noticed defect and the demands we have for the defective product. A complaint under the warranty gives us the right to:

  • defect repair,

  • replacing things with a new one,

  • refund (or reduction) of the price for the goods.

It is the buyer who chooses whether he prefers to have the item repaired or replaced with a new one, and this choice is binding on the seller. However, if it turns out that the repair or replacement of things is impossible or too expensive, you can demand a refund of the price for the goods (i.e. withdraw from the contract). However, a refund is always the last option - it is only eligible if the seller is unable to fulfill the other two options.

Deadlines in the complaint

When talking about the deadlines in the complaint, we can distinguish the following categories:

  1. The deadline for submitting a complaint is 2 years (and in the case of a second-hand item, 1 year) from the date of purchase of the goods. If the consumer files a complaint within one year, it is presumed that the item was defective on the date of purchase. If the defect is noticed at a later date, i.e. between the 12th and the 24th month from the release of the goods, the consumer should prove that the defect existed at the time of purchase. However, if the goods are purchased by an entrepreneur, he must prove that the item had a defect on the day of purchase - even if he makes a complaint within one year of discovering the defect.

  2. The deadline for considering the complaint - the seller has 14 days to respond to our complaint. If the complainant does not receive any reply within two weeks, the complaint is deemed to have been accepted and accepted.

  3. The deadline for fulfilling the obligations arising from the complaint - the law does not regulate this deadline, it depends on the parties' agreement.

  4. The time for submitting a complaint is 1 year from noticing the defect. Exceeding this deadline is the loss of the consumer's rights

  5. The time to submit a complaint regarding food products is 3 days from the date of opening the package or the date of purchase of a product sold in bulk.

The deadline for filing a complaint is two years from the date of delivery of the item, while the time for filing a complaint is one year from the date the defect was noticed. So if, during the 2-year warranty period, the buyer notices a defect, he has one year to file a complaint from that moment on.

The time for submitting a complaint as a result of a noticed defect (one year from the date of detection of the defect) does not shorten the time of the seller's liability (2 years from the date of delivery of the goods).

Example 1.

Mr. Adam bought a vacuum cleaner on May 25, 2017. On February 20, 2019, he noticed that the vacuum cleaner has a defect. Mr. Adam has until February 20, 2020 (one year from the detection of the defect) to submit a complaint - because he detected it within the 2-year warranty period.

Complaints about items purchased outside the business premises or on the Internet

A consumer who has concluded a distance or off-premises contract may, within 14 days from the date of conclusion of the contract, withdraw from it without giving any reason and without incurring costs (with some exceptions indicated in the Act of 30 May 2014 on consumer rights). In order to withdraw from the contract (i.e. to resign from the service or item), it is enough to submit to the entrepreneur (or send by post) a written declaration of withdrawal from the contract. If the entrepreneur offers electronic withdrawal, submitting a declaration on the entrepreneur's website is also considered effective.

Importantly, when concluding distance or off-premises contracts, the entrepreneur is obliged to inform the consumer about his right to withdraw from the contract. If the entrepreneur does not fulfill this obligation, the time to withdraw from the contract is extended to 12 months and 14 days from the date of purchase of the goods (conclusion of the contract).

Warranty claim

A complaint under the warranty is the second option to pursue claims when the product turns out to be inconsistent with the contract. A warranty claim can only be used if the manufacturer has issued a warranty for its product. Such a complaint is submitted to the manufacturer, and all its conditions: duration, customer requests, manufacturer's obligations are specified voluntarily by the manufacturer in the warranty document issued by him.

Due to the fact that the guarantee is issued voluntarily by the manufacturer, he may freely establish its conditions - e.g. depending on the type of customer. The common provision that for buyers of goods on an invoice is not illegal, the warranty period is, for example, 12 months, and for consumers 24 months.

Complaints due to sale and warranty are two independent forms of pursuing claims. Using one does not exclude the use of the other. It is only impossible to use both of these forms at the same time.