“Commodity trading transactions, especially those with large value, usually have goods with complex structures as the object of the transaction, for example, industrial machinery, cars, motorcycles, electronic items, etc. are goods which are considered to have a relatively long exploitation period. Thus, it is very important to set the seller’s warranty responsibility even though the goods have been inspected and accepted by the buyer. This stems from the fact that, at the time of purchase, the test results show that the goods are in normal and stable operation, but after a certain period, the problems with the goods that are not caused by errors of the buyer somehow arise.”
What is a warranty?
Warranty is the responsibility of the seller to repair or replace components and accessories of the defective goods or defective goods themselves within a certain period from the point when the goods are delivered to the buyer as agreed by the parties or stipulated by the Law. However, in the majority of cases, the seller has a warranty obligation only in cases where the defects arise on the grounds of the manufacturer’s or the seller’s fault. Warranty liability is not applied for the damage caused by the fault of the buyer.
Term of warranty
Currently, except for the compulsory warranty for construction works required by construction laws, there are no legal documents specifying the warranty period applicable to ordinary goods. In fact, the warranty period is agreed upon by the parties depending on the characteristics of each specific type of goods and usually includes the following basic features:
- Commencement of the term of warranty: In most cases, the term shall be counted when the seller delivers the goods to the buyer. However, in some special cases where the purchased goods are not used immediately, the parties agree that the term of warranty shall commence when the buyer puts the goods into operation and use.
- Criteria for determining the term of warranty: Given that the parties are free to decide the term of warranty, in most cases, the determination of the term of warranty may be based on the following criteria:
- features and uses of the goods,
- the applicable practice of buying and selling goods
- the business relationship of the parties to the transaction, etc.
Seller’s responsibilities in a warranty
According to the Civil Code (2015), warranty obligation of the seller shall be valid upon the agreement of the parties or otherwise provided by the Law. Currently, except for the cases of compulsory warranty for construction works stipulated by construction laws, the list of goods subject to compulsory warranty has not yet been legally specified. In other words, the seller’s warranty obligation is only set if, at the time of the transaction, the parties have agreed with each other on warranty-related issues, including the: warranty period, warranty’s scope and the warranty procedures.
Sellers are legally required to have the following warranty obligation towards the purchased goods:
- The seller must fulfil the warranty obligation as soon as possible.
- The seller must bear the costs of the warranty, unless otherwise agreed.
- The seller must repair the goods and ensure that the goods meet the quality standards or have all the committed.
- The seller must bear the cost of repairing and transporting the goods to the place of repair and from the place of repair to the residence or headquarters of the buyer.
Buyer ‘s rights in a warranty
During the term of warranty, if the buyer finds out any defects in the goods, it has the right to request the seller to: repair such defects without additional payment; reduce the price; replace the defective goods with new ones or return defective goods for a refund.
The buyer has the right to request the seller to complete repairs within the time limit agreed upon by the parties or a reasonable time; if the seller cannot repair or cannot complete the repair within that time limit, the buyer has the right to request: a discount, replacement of the defective goods; or return the goods for a refund.
In addition to requesting the implementation of warranty measures, the buyer has the right to request the seller to compensate for any damage caused by technical defects of the goods during the term of warranty. However, the seller is not required to compensate for damage if it can prove that the damage occurred due to the buyer’s fault. At the same time, the seller is entitled to a reduction in the amount of compensation if the buyer fails to take necessary measures that are permissible in order to prevent and/or limit the damages incurred.
Given that at the time of delivery of the goods, the parties have checked and verified the quality of the goods, it is still not the most optimal measure to protect the interests of the buyer in the transactions, which the defects arise after the transfer of ownership, and could not be detected by the buyer at the time of inspection. Therefore, in transactions involving goods of large value, especially machines with complex functions, it is necessary to clearly specify terms related to warranty and liability including the: warranty coverage, warranty period, warranty procedures, buyer’s responsibility, or the warranty claim processing time, which are of crucial in terms of goods warranty as well as settlement of related disputes.