Whether you are abroad on holiday or have ordered a product online, a standard set of consumer rules apply as long as it is purchased within the EU.
The Directive (EU) 2019/771 on certain aspect concerning contracts from the sale of goods and repealing Directive 1999/44/EC prescribes that when buying goods and services, it is expected that the goods purchased are in line with what you have agreed on in the agreement contract. In other words, you must receive what you have paid for. This means that the purchases must be the same as the product in the description provided by the seller, possess the same qualities and fit for the purpose for which similar products are typically used.
Furthermore, it is assumed that if you buy a custom version of a product being sold and the seller agrees, it is expected that that product complies with the description that you have informed the seller about.
In order to avoid disappointments, it is thus imperative that the terms of the agreement are agreed upon, especially when purchasing specific products.
When you place an order with a trader in the EU, you are entitled to a two-year legal guarantee, during which the seller is responsible for any lack of conformity.
Once you notice that the product is faulty, you must inform the seller through a registered letter or e-mail. If the fault arises during the first 12 months, which start from the day the product is delivered, it is assumed that the fault was already present when you bought the product. It is the seller’s responsibility to prove otherwise. After the 12 months, but within the 24-month legal warranty, it is your responsibility to prove that you did nothing to cause the fault.
Digital products, such as streaming services, music Etc., originating from the EU are also included under this Directive. Always provide proof of the problem to the trader (such as screenshots, videos) to help him resolve the issue. You are entitled to a version that properly works or a refund if that is not possible.
Where there is a lack of conformity, the consumer is entitled to have the product brought back into conformity free of charge either by repair or replacement within a reasonable time and with the least inconvenience to the consumer.
When it is not possible to repair the product, or if the situation is not remedied within a reasonable time, you are entitled to an appropriate reduction of the price or for the contract of sale to be withdrawn, in other words, a refund.
These rights apply irrespective of which country within the EU the product was purchased. If the seller and consumer are situated in different countries, the seller is still liable for any lack of conformity. These rights apply both if the products were purchased from a shop or online.
It is essential that where there is a lack of conformity, the consumer contacts the seller immediately. The seller is required to rectify the problem without delay, even if situated in another country.
The seller is entitled to provide or sell commercial warranties or other guarantee extensions in addition to the legal guarantee. These additional warranties do not replace the two-year guarantee but instead are in addition to it.
The commercial warranty protects the consumer under the conditions laid down in the guarantee document when provided or sold to the consumer. Furthermore, any commercial warranty offered by the seller or manufacturer must clearly state that your legal rights are not affected by the guarantee.
Like any other commercial warranty, the international warranty offers protection to the consumer under the terms listed in the guarantee document. Usually, the international warranty is issued by the manufacturer whereby the manufacturer undertakes that around the world, products of a specific brand will be serviced or repaired at an authorised agent where the consumer lives. However, one must keep in mind that there is not necessarily an authorised agent in every country. Therefore, the manufacturer may direct you to the nearest agent, which may not necessarily be in your country of residence.
Therefore, before purchasing a product, one should not solely rely on the fact that the particular product carries with it an international warranty. It is vital to verify whether there is an authorised agent in Malta who can execute the guarantee.
Note: Commercial warranties or other guarantee extensions are not obligatory; they are purely of a contractual nature. The rules and conditions must be incorporated in writing in a document.