Did you buy a product not as described? Find out what your rights are


Do you shop online? This text will help you deal with a situation where you have purchased a product that does not match the description on the store's website. Such situations, unfortunately, do happen, and pages are created on social media, showing examples of non-compliance of the goods with the description. Do you know what your rights are when the goods you have purchased do not comply with what is written about them on the store's or manufacturer's website?

What does product not as described mean?

The problem of product non-compliance with the description is nothing new. It was not created as a result of making purchases in online stores, where we do not have the possibility of direct interaction with the goods beforehand. We can also find the product not as described when shopping in a stationary store.

Lawyers define this type of problem more broadly - as the non-compliance of the goods with the contract. When can you speak of such incompatibility?

  • When a product you have purchased is not suitable for the purpose for which this type of product is usually used.

  • When the purchased product does not have the properties that this type of good usually has.

  • When the purchased product does not meet the expectations publicly assured by the seller, producer or manufacturer's representative (it also concerns the non-compliance of the product with its description created by the manufacturer or seller).

  • When there are irregularities in the assembly and commissioning of the device - provided that it was done by the seller or a person authorized to do so under the sales contract or by the customer himself, based on the instructions attached to the product

  • When the product has been delivered to the buyer in an incomplete state.

Importantly, the non-compliance must exist at the time the product is released to the buyer!

Product not as described and the rights of the consumer

Consumer's rights are similar whether you buy online or in a brick-and-mortar store, but the consumer enjoys greater privileges when selling at a distance. More important, however, is whether it is possible to apply the provisions of consumer law in a given situation. We can talk about such a law only when there is a consumer sale, i.e. when the parties to the contract of sale are a private person (consumer) and a shop (enterprise).

Consumer sale = type of sale that takes place between a private person who does not use the purchased products for business purposes and a legal person, e.g. between a consumer and a shop.

Other laws are governed by sale and purchase contracts concluded between two companies (ie purchases "on a per-company" basis) or between two private persons. We consider each of the three possible situations in this text.

Product not as described - consumer sale

Imagine you bought a new TV at an electronics store. After coming home and using your new equipment for a few hours, you found out that something was wrong. The product does not have all the functions that you were informed about in the store and that were described in the manufacturer's information brochure. You go to the store with a complaint and the seller sends you back to the manufacturer. What are you doing then?

The law states that the seller, not the manufacturer, is entirely responsible for the non-compliance of the goods with the contract in consumer sales. The seller is also responsible for the non-compliance of the product with the description prepared by the manufacturer. This means that you direct your complaint only to the store where you bought it.

Product complaint - what can you request?

You have two years to file a complaint from noticing the non-compliance of the goods with the contract. However, this deadline does not apply to food products - then you have 3 days to submit a complaint from the moment of purchasing the product in the event that the goods were measured and were not packed in a way that could prevent damage or spoilage.

What can you ask the seller first? First of all, repair or replacement of goods that do not comply with the contract. All costs related to the repair or replacement are covered by the seller. In the case of distance selling - also shipping costs.

Under the new act on consumer rights, the seller does not have a strict deadline to respond to the complaint submitted by the customer. However, if the customer has requested a price reduction for a specific amount, replacement of the defective product or removal of the defect, and the seller has not responded to it within 14 days - the complaint is considered justified. IN

The seller rejected your claim? All is not lost

What should I do if the seller has not accepted your complaint? First of all, check whether your application and request were fully compliant with the provisions of consumer law. For this purpose, you can also visit an appraiser. Refer to your local consumer ombudsman for further steps. However, if it doesn't work for you, you can:

  • submit the application to the arbitration court at the Trade Inspection. However, both parties must consent to the hearing,

  • bring a claim to a common court,

  • submit a request for mediation.

What do online buyers gain?

When concluding distance sales contracts, and such contracts appear during online purchases and other forms of distance selling, the consumer gains an additional right. Within 14 days from the date of receipt of the product or conclusion of the contract, the consumer may withdraw from this contract in any way without giving any reason. It is the seller's obligation to inform the buyer about this right - if he does not, the time for the consumer to withdraw from the contract is extended to 12 months.

From the moment of termination of the contract, the consumer has 14 days to deliver the goods to the seller in the manner agreed between the parties. The seller also has 14 days to reimburse the costs incurred by the consumer as a result of the purchase of the goods. The consumer bears the costs of shipping the goods to the seller, but the seller is obliged to return them together with the amount paid for the goods. Importantly, the seller only bears the costs of the cheapest possible shipment and this is the amount that the consumer transfers - even if the buyer sent the goods back in a way that generates higher costs, the return will only cover the price of the cheapest shipment.

Product not as described - did the consumer know?

You may not always advertise a defective product as inconsistent with the contract. The exception is when the buyer knew or should have known about the inconsistency, and still made the purchase.

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Sale between individuals or between companies

When you purchase goods as a private person from another private person or when you, as an entrepreneur, purchase goods from another entrepreneur, you are not bound by the provisions of consumer law. They are replaced by the provisions of the Civil Code regarding sales contracts. The legal basis for the complaint in such cases will be the warranty for physical or legal defects of the goods.

The basis for complaints in this type of transactions is:

  • a defect of the goods that reduces its value or usefulness,

  • non-compliance of the properties of the goods with the seller's assurances,

  • delivery of the goods in an incomplete state.

If the seller, despite the complaint, fails to remove the defect or does not replace the goods, the buyer has the right to terminate the sales contract and obtain reimbursement of the costs incurred.

Lawyers advise to pay particular attention to the content of the contract concluded between the seller and the buyer when purchasing for which the consumer law does not apply. There are often cases of limiting the liability for the goods on the part of the seller. Moreover, this type of agreements does not apply to the provision on the non-use of prohibited contractual clauses.


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