Christmas shopping: Exchange, guarantee, and warranty—what rights do customers have?

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The Christmas gift-buying season is in full swing. The Consumer Protection Association gives tips on what customers can do if the gift is not to their liking, does not fit, or is a gift voucher.

If you don’t like a Christmas present, you can try to exchange it. However, the exchange is not a right. Still, it must be expressly agreed upon (added to the receipt) or publicly advertised by the business, or you will be lucky to receive an exchange as a gesture of goodwill.

Broken Christmas presents: the difference between guarantee and warranty

However, if a gift turns out to be defective (e.g., the smartphone does not work), you can either demand an improvement or a price reduction under the warranty; if this does not work, you can demand that the contract be rescinded. The entrepreneur does not have to be at fault for the defect. He is responsible for ensuring that the purchased item has the contractually agreed-upon and assumed characteristics. The warranty cannot be excluded or limited in consumer transactions.

The guarantee must be distinguished from the warranty. The guarantee is not regulated by law. It is an assurance, usually given by the manufacturer, that they are responsible for a defect. What exactly this means and how and for how long the guarantee can be claimed can be found in the respective guarantee conditions.

Risk of loss of value with vouchers

In the case of a distance-selling purchase (online, mail order), the consumer generally has 14 days after receiving the goods to withdraw from the contract. It is not necessary to give a reason for withdrawal.

Vouchers are very popular Christmas gifts. You should make sure that the voucher is not too short-lived. With vouchers, the buyer also bears the risk of losing the value of the voucher if the company becomes insolvent.

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