Consumers may demand compensation for material damage, i.e. damage caused to other property by defective goods. Whom the demands should be addressed to depends on the type of damage.
The claim should be addressed to the vendor if the item causing the damage and the damaged product are directly connected by use. For example, the vendor may be liable to provide compensation for textiles ruined by a defective washing machine or foods defrosted by a defective freezer. If the damage was caused by a defect in a spare part or material used in repairing the goods, the liable party may be the company that conducted the repairs.
The claim should be addressed to the manufacturer or importer for damage caused to persons or private property due to safety defects in the goods. If the manufacturer of the product is not evident, the claim may be addressed to the company that marketed the product as its own or equipped it with a logo. The consumer must be able to present proof of the damage, the safety deficiencies and the causal relationship between the two.
- Material damage includes repair costs, the costs related to the damage caused by the goods, a decrease in value or the value of a destroyed item. Material damage below the value of EUR 395.25 need not be compensated. Any damages exceeding this lower limit must be covered as a whole
- In cases of personal injury, the liability applies to medical costs (with no lower limit), as well as other costs caused by the defect. Additional compensation may have to be provided for loss of income, pain and suffering, and disability or another permanent form of damage.
A consumer’s right to receive compensation is also influenced by the principle concerning compensation for damages in general, according to which the consumer must attempt, through his or her own prudent action, to limit any damage that may occur.
Compensation for damages in purchases of goods