Today, the new law that regulates the rights of consumers to buy and sell goods comes into force. The main novelty is the extension of the warranty period, from two years in force until now, to three years under these new rules. Decree-law No. 84/2021, which was published in the Official Gazette, is the transposition of the European Union directives (770 and 771 of 2021), which aim to raise the level of consumer protection, regarding purchase and sale contracts entered into with the professionals.
The new rules also apply to goods that are sold second-hand or reconditioned, provided they are sold by professional bodies. Despite the three-year warranty period, this period can be reduced if there is a mutual agreement between the companies and their customers.
In addition to the extended period for movable goods, in the case of electronic equipment, household appliances and others, companies are now also required to guarantee repairs for the equipment they sell for 10 years. In other words, they are now obliged to store spare parts to repair any equipment, thus prolonging the life of the devices.
There are other changes in the law that you should be aware of, as these are not retroactive, ie if you bought something for Christmas, the new rules do not apply. Just everything you buy from today, January 1st.
To find out all the details of the new laws, SAPO TEK has created a list of frequently asked questions and answers. You can also consult the dossier with the reactions of some companies to the new laws, as well as from DECO Proteste, the publication of Consumer Protection.
When does the new law on consumer guarantees and rights start?
The new legislation on consumer rights will come into force across the European Union from January 1, 2022.
What is the new warranty period for movable and immovable property?
The warranty period for mobile products, such as appliances, computers and other goods, goes from the current two years to three years. This is a law that comes into force in Portugal, based on the transposition of a European directive. Currently, the goods that are defective or appear to be damaged have a term of three years. For real estate, such as houses and apartments, the warranty period is 10 years, if it concerns structural construction elements; for other failures, it will be 5 years.
What changes the warranty from two to three years?
Although the law provides for the warranty period from two to three years, starting from the delivery of the good, in the absence of conformity (defect) in the third year, it is up to the consumer to prove that it existed on the date of delivery of that good.
Does the law only affect goods purchased in traditional physical stores?
No. The law covers both goods purchased in physical stores and online platforms.
Are second-hand goods also covered by the new law?
Yes. Second-hand goods, sold by professionals, are now guaranteed for three years, unless the term is reduced by mutual agreement, provided that it is not less than one year.
How are replacements and repairs made to purchased goods?
Replacements and repairs must be made free of charge, within a reasonable period of time, from the moment the seller was informed of the defect or that it is not inconvenient for consumers. The consumer must deliver the respective goods to the seller. Shipping charges must be accepted by the seller.
What is the repair or replacement period for a defective returned good?
The repair or replacement of the defective asset has a maximum period of 30 days, except in situations related to its more complex nature or other situation that justifies a longer period. In case of replacement of the good, the consumer cannot be charged any cost inherent to the normal use of the replaced good, whether transport, labor or parts.
Is there an extended period for a good under warranty that has been repaired?
Yes, goods repaired under warranty have an additional period of six months for each repair.
And what is the new deadline for a replaced good?
The item delivered and replaced makes a “reset” to the warranty. In other words, this item has three years from the date of delivery, replacing the defective item. Which means that the current rule is maintained, with the respective extension of the warranty period.
When a good is not in conformity, what options does the consumer have?
The consumer can ask for the repair or the respective replacement of the good. You can choose to ask for a reduction in the price of the good or the termination of the contract previously made, “establishing the conditions and requirements applicable for each of these means”. The consumer can choose to replace or terminate the contract without the need to verify any specific condition, when compliance is lacking, detected within the first 30 days after delivery of the goods.
The new law also eliminates the consumer’s obligation to report the defect within a certain period after becoming aware of it. Now it can do so by “exercising the consumer’s rights during the warranty period for the goods”.
Should companies guarantee repairs for up to 10 years?
Yes. The new law requires companies to reserve stock of spare parts for a period of 10 years, in order to guarantee a better after-sales service. In other words, after the entry of the new law, you will have the guarantee that in the next 10 years a washing machine or a computer, for example, will be repaired by the manufacturers, if any part needs to be replaced. This rule applies exceptions to perishable goods or whose nature is incompatible with the specified period.
I bought a product in 2021, do the new rules apply retroactively?
No. The extension of the warranty to three years will only apply to purchase and sale contracts that are made after the entry into force of the new law, on January 1, 2022.
Which entity will monitor compliance with the new warranty laws?
The new diploma will be supervised by the ASAE (Authority for Food and Economic Security), as well as the instruction of the respective associated fines.