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Right of redress: legal challenges for producers and sellers in Poland

  • Poland
  • Competition, EU and Trade

18-01-2016

The new regulation on the right of redress may significantly affect all sellers in the chain of contracts ending with consumers, i.e. producers, importers, distributors and final sellers. Final sellers who incur costs as a result of consumers exercising their rights under a warranty for physical defects may claim compensation from producers. The compensation includes reimbursement of expenses necessary for fulfilment of the consumer’s rights, which in practice may be very broad.

The Polish Consumer Rights Act, which transposes the Consumer Rights Directive, came into force one year ago, on 25 December 2014. The Consumer Rights Act not only addresses new legislation for businesses with regard to distance sales and door-to-door sales, but also amends the core provisions of the Polish Civil Code concerning liability for the quality of things sold. The act re-transposes Directive 1999/44/EC on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees of 25 May 1999. This implementation introduced a brand new section to the Polish Civil Code: “The seller’s claims regarding the defective nature of the thing sold.” In other words, it introduced regulations on the right of redress.

What for?

The general aim of the new law is that all the parties in a chain of contracts are required to ensure the conformity of goods with the contract to protect the consumer’s interest. Therefore, it is addressed to all sellers in the chain of contracts, i.e. producers, importers, distributors and final sellers. The important thing is that this chain must end with a consumer. On the other hand, the regulation aims to balance the position and interests of the final seller, who fulfils the consumer’s claims and has a right of redress against its suppliers. Significantly, the final seller may seek redress from previous sellers even if it has no contract with them.

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