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New regulations on statutory warranty and contractual guarantee as of December 2014

Poland: Significant changes for professional manufacturers, sellers, contractors and building companies!

 

As of 25 December 2014 Poland begins implementing the EU Consumers Directive. Entry into force is already delayed by half a year because the Polish legislator took this as an opportunity to modify the whole statutory warranty and contractual guarantee system in the Civil Code.

What are the most important changes? For sure, abolition of the act on consumer purchase of goods accompanied by an extension of the statutory warranty to consumer purchases of movable property, which has not been the case so far.

It is also worth mentioning that warranty and guarantee terms will be extended. The statutory warranty on movable assets will now last two years (instead of one as before), while on buildings it will be as many as five years (previously three). A contractual guarantee (in Poland referred to as a “lasting” guarantee) will last two years (unless otherwise stated in the guarantee document), whereas it used to be one year. During these periods the consumer can claim for defects arising. However, the expiration periods for raising a claim or exercising a right to unilateral modification under a warranty/guarantee will be shortened and amount to only one year as of discovery of the defect, while in case of consumers the time limitation cannot happen before expiry of the warranty/guarantee period (it is suspended). It is also a novelty that expiration periods longer than two years from handover to the buyer of goods purchased will serve as an extension of the statutory warranty period.

For the first time, Polish law regulates direct recourse by a seller (whose buyer claimed from it) towards its predecessor in the supply chain on the basis of the predecessor’s liability for defects. This means that the seller’s liability under recourse cannot be excluded in a contract.

In addition to the separate statutory warranty mentioned above, regulations have been introduced for service contracts. Now the commercial law warranty provisions will also apply to construction and services contracts. The rules on sales guarantee will now also govern these types of contract.

What is more, lapse of warranty periods will also be suspended while a buyer claims for its rights under a contractual guarantee.

All these new regulations lead to considerable extension and prolongation of the liability of a seller or manufacturer, which should be taken into account while calculating the price of goods.

 

Source: Law on Consumer Rights of 30 May 2014, J.L. 2014, No. 827