If there is a defect in a product, you may ask the vendor to repair or replace it, whichever you choose. The vendor may refuse to do so if repairing or replacing the product is impossible or would result in unreasonable costs for the vendor. If the defect cannot be rectified by repairing or replacing the product, you may demand a price reduction or cancellation of the sale. If there is a defect in the product, the vendor is liable to compensate you for any losses it caused.
Withholding part of the purchase price
If you have not yet paid for your purchase, you have the right to not pay the purchase price until the defect has been rectified or you have received other compensation. The amount you withhold must be fair in proportion to the significance of the defect. You cannot withhold the full purchase price because of a minor defect that can be rectified.
The primary method of compensating a consumer for defects is rectification. The rectification methods are:
- repairing the product
- replacing the product with one that has no defects
You usually have the right to choose which method of rectification will be used. This freedom of choice is not absolute.
Under previous case law, the vendor was usually considered to have the right to repair the product if they offer to repair it without delay as soon as the buyer reports the defect, and the repair can be done within a reasonable time, without reducing the value of the product and without causing significant harm to the buyer.
The provisions on defects in the Consumer Protection Act were amended on 1 January 2022. The earlier provisions on defects are applied to contracts concluded before the amended Act entered into force.
The vendor does not have to rectify the defect in the way you ask, or at all, if:
- it is not possible due to a force majeure, or
- it would result in unreasonable costs for the vendor.
The vendor’s right to refuse to rectify the defect in the way you ask is examined separately in each individual case. Factors taken into account in this assessment include the following:
- significance of the defect
- value of the product without the defect
- if the defect can be rectified in some other way without causing significant harm to the consumer.
Repairing the product may often be the most sensible and cheapest way of rectifying a defect. This may be true if, for example, the consumer can easily bring the product in for repairs, and the vendor can carry out the repairs quickly. When assessing the harm caused to the consumer, one of the facts that may be taken into consideration is whether or not you have been given a replacement device while the repairs are being carried out.
n a purchase of a used car or other second-hand products, replacement is usually not possible as a method of rectifying a defect. In this case, defects are compensated for either by repairing the product, reducing the purchase price or cancelling the purchase.
Principles of rectifying defects
- The first step usually is to ascertain if the product has a defect for which the vendor is liable. You must give the vendor a possibility to identify the defect. This often means that the product must be sent to the vendor or a service centre designated by the vendor for examination. Read more: Identifying a defect and the costs of diagnostics
- You may not incur any costs or significant harm for the repairs or replacement.
- The product must be repaired or replaced within a reasonable time after you have informed the vendor of the defect. A reasonable period of time is assessed on a case-by-case basis, but it may normally not be longer than two weeks.
- The vendor may mitigate the harm and losses caused to you by the repair by giving you a replacement device while carrying out the repairs.
- If the defect is rectified by replacing the product, you are not obliged to pay for the normal use of the product in the period before it was replaced. You may not necessarily be able to demand a completely new, unused item as a replacement. However, you may require that the replacement product is free of defects and has the same expected service life as the original item.
- The vendor must at their cost take care of all dismantling and installation work required to replace or repair the product. This also applies when you were originally responsible for installing the product.
- If, for example, the item has been in use for a few years when the defect occurs and the defect is rectified by installing new parts, you usually have to pay part of the costs, as the condition of the product is regarded as having improved compared to a situation where the parts had not been replaced. If the repair does not improve the product’s condition, the vendor should pay the full cost of the repairs. An example of this is when a second-hand spare part in good condition can be used to make the repair.
Number of attempts at rectification
As a rule, the vendor may only try to rectify a defect once. Consequently, you may usually demand a price reduction or cancellation of the purchase after one unsuccessful attempt to rectify the defect.
In some situations, you must give the vendor a second chance to try and rectify the defect. Factors taken into account in this assessment include
- f the defect to be rectified is the same one or a different one
- the price and structural complexity of the product.
You may also give the vendor a second chance to rectify the defect in other situations. This may make sense if, for example, the defect is so minor that it does not justify cancelling the sale.
Price reduction and cancellation
You may demand a price reduction or cancellation of sale if
- the vendor refuses to rectify the defect because of a force majeure or unreasonable costs
- a reasonable time has gone by since you reported the defect and it has still not been rectified
- the vendor has not taken care of dismantling the installation of a defective product and installing a product that is free from defects
- The vendor has already tried to rectify the defect in the item.
A price reduction means that the product still has a defect or shortcoming but the vendor refunds some of the purchase price to you. The amount of the price reduction must be worked out in each individual case.
Cancelling the sale
Cancelling the sale means that the vendor returns the purchase price you have paid for the product to you, and you return the product to the vendor. The vendor must compensate you for the costs of returning the product. The vendor may deduct the value of the benefit you obtained from using the item from the purchase price they refund. If the sale is cancelled during the warranty period, this deduction may not be made.
Cancelling the sale is not possible if the defect is minor. Under the law, the vendor must in this case prove that the defect is minor.
Compensation for financial losses
You have the right to receive compensation for losses caused by a defect in a product. You cannot get compensation for distress or mental suffering.
To get compensation, you must have proof of your losses. You must have a receipt or other reliable information on the costs.
Vahingonkorvauksen saaminen edellyttää näyttöä vahingon syntymisestä. Kustannuksista pitää olla kuitti tai muu luotettava selvitys. Read more: Compensation for losses resulting from a defect