A complaint is understood to mean that a consumer is exercising his right to a guarantee.
You should not confuse a complaint with the right of withdrawal or the guarantee. A successful complaint always requires a material defect that existed before the product was handed over . In the event of a material defect, the purchased goods do not correspond to the quality that was agreed in the purchase contract. Accordingly, the consumer can exercise his right to a warranty. In the following lines we go into detail on the subject of “complaints” so that you are well informed about this delicate subject.
Legal basis for complaints
Right at the beginning of our guide on the subject of “Complaints”, we will tell you what the legal basis of complaints is all about. So here you not only find out when buyers are allowed to complain, but also what needs to be considered during them.
The purchase agreement
Understandably, the sales contract is the starting point for a complaint. Before goods can be exchanged or complained about, a contract for the actual purchase must first be concluded. However, no written agreement is required for this. As you already know for sure, it goes without saying that we conclude sales contracts every day. Be it in the morning at the bakery or on a Saturday when shopping for groceries. However, the provider is obliged to always hand over goods free of defects and to transfer all rights to the buyer. If he does not meet these obligations, then you as a consumer can demand the fulfillment of the contractual obligation. This is exactly what it is all about when we speak of “complaint”.
Complaints only in the case of defective goods
According to GRADCHEM, the seller is obliged to always hand over goods that are free of defects. If he does not adhere to this obligation, the consumer can fall back on his statutory warranty rights. Accordingly, you can confidently complain about defective goods. The basic legal idea says that the concluded sales contract should continue to exist, but despite all of this you do not have to be satisfied with a defective product. Rather, you can request a repair or an exchange of the damaged goods in accordance with §§437 No. 1, 438 BGB .
The deficiency at the time of purchase is important
However, the customer is only entitled to warranty rights if the defect already existed at the time of purchase or when the respective goods were handed over. However, the existence of the defect at the time of handover is sufficient here. This regulation also applies if the actual defect only becomes noticeable at a later point in time.
A short example to clarify : You buy a new blouse, but it is very poorly sewn from the start, so that the seams tear after a short time.
Exchange vs. complaint
Dealers often state that items that have just been reduced cannot be exchanged. But this rule does not always apply, because you can complain about defective goods at any time . The exchange, on the other hand, is a free service by the seller. If this is an accommodating provider, you will be granted a free exchange of the goods if you do not like it. In contrast, the so-called defect rights are regulated by law. They apply to all products that you buy from a retailer, regardless of whether they have already been reduced.
Complaint period and statute of limitations
It is just as important to know that the temporal aspects of the statutory right of complaint differ significantly from the voluntarily granted right of exchange. As already mentioned in the above section, the dealer can freely design the right to exchange. For example, he can set a two-week exchange right.
The situation is different, however, with the legally regulated right to complain , because the warranty period cannot be shortened by the dealer at will. It is exactly two years and is stipulated by law. However, you should keep in mind that this is by no means a kind of durability guarantee, because the provider only has to take responsibility for defects that already existed at the time of purchase.
Withdrawal from the contract instead of complaint
Many consumers assume that they can easily withdraw from the purchase contract, provided that neither an exchange nor a complaint work. But unfortunately this is not quite what might have been hoped for. Here, too, the rule applies that contracts must always be adhered to. The law only provides for the possibility of withdrawing from the sale if the provider completely refuses a repair or replacement. You can also make use of this rule in the event of two unsuccessful repair attempts. Only when one of these situations has occurred is it possible to cancel the contract. But here, too, the goods must be defective.
Interesting facts about exchanges
Some consumers believe that cosmetics, food and underwear cannot be exchanged. But this assumption is wrong because the law does not distinguish between product types. Accordingly, you can also return such goods if they were defective at the time of purchase. The same rule applies here as for all other product types.