Q: My query is about the period of warranty when buying products. I know that when buying articles for personal use or for the home, the warranty period is legally two years. However, when it comes to buying industrial goods or goods for industrial use, I am informed that there is no binding two-year legal warranty period. I've been told that in the case of industrial goods the EU specifies that the seller has the right to decide what warrantee period, if any, to give.

Can you confirm whether this information is correct?

A: The warranty, also known as the commercial guarantee, is issued by the manufacturer or trader on certain goods to provide some benefit and free-of- charge remedies for a set period of time in the event of goods resulting defective. Traders are not legally obliged to issue a commercial guarantee even when the goods are purchased for personal use.

The two-year guarantee you are referring to is not given to consumers by the seller but it is a right stipulated in the Consumer Affairs Act. Consumer law states that if consumers purchase a product in a shop, through the post, by phone or internet and turns out to be faulty or not as described, the law gives consumers the right to request compensation.

The length of this protection is two years from date of purchase. However, the consumer must inform the trader about the lack of conformity in writing within two months from discovering the fault. When goods are not purchased for one's own personal use, such as industrial goods, these are not covered by the Consumer Affairs Act but by the Civil Code. However, even in this case, the goods sold should not have any latent defects which make them unfit for their intended use.

When this happens, the buyer is entitled to return the defective product and claim a refund. The time limitation within which this redress can be claimed is six months from delivery date. Where, however, it was not possible for the buyer to discover the latent defect of the product purchased, the six-month limitation starts from the day that was possible for the customer to discover such a defect.

However, a contract of sale cannot be repudiated after the lapse of two years from the date of the contract.

It should also be pointed out that in either situation, remedies stipulated by law do not apply if:

• there is nothing wrong with the goods and the consumer has just changed his mind about wanting them;

• the fault the consumer is complaining about is apparent and could have been noticed at the time of purchase;

• the trader pointed out the defect that the consumer is complaining about, such as in the case of damaged items sold at a very low price;

• the problem is the result of normal wear and tear;

• the goods have lasted for as long as could reasonably be expected.

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