Second Hand and Repaired Goods: Your Consumer Rights
As more and more people decide to buy second hand goods, or pay for items to be repaired rather than buy new, it’s good to know that you still have consumer rights. We’ve taken a look at what guarantees you are entitled to and what to do when things go wrong.
Buying second hand goods from a company
Lots of stores offer refurbished and open-box items, such as Amazon, Apple and MediaMarkt. In accordance with EU regulations, even if items are second hand they still have a 2-year guarantee (the same as new articles), unless both parties agree to a minimum 1-year guarantee.
This can cause issues as sellers often only offer a 1-year guarantee with a “take it or leave it” approach.
Tips for buying second hand goods
- The date of the guarantee starts from the date of delivery, not purchase. If your goods take 10 days to be delivered, the delivery date will be the date that the guarantee commences.
- Nearly new goods, such as open box items, may still be covered by the original 2-year guarantee. When there’s more than a year’s guarantee still in force, in order to take advantage of this you’ll need to request the sales document (invoice, till receipt or stamped guarantee) that shows the date of the original purchase.
- Your rights include requesting a full or partial refund, a repair or a discount on another product. However, unlike consumer rights for new goods you cannot request the item be substituted for another.
If you have issues with a store that will not honour your consumer rights, request an official complaints form.
Buying second hand goods from an individual
When buying second hand items from a private dealer, consumers are not covered by the same rights as when buying from a company. When you buy goods from another person the guarantee is limited to six months. This guarantee covers the possibility to request a full refund or partial refund.
There’s no denying that in most cases it will be difficult to try and get an individual to honour the 6-month guarantee period. If you have problems get in touch with your local municipal consumer office who will be able to advise, however your only option may be to take the case to court. Depending on the money you’ve already spent and the time you’ll spend chasing it up, you’ll have to decide whether or not it’s worthwhile.
Where to buy refurbished items
Amazon Spain Renewed includes phones, laptops and kitchen gadgets. Most items come with a 1-year guarantee. For each item check what the guarantee may exclude (for example pre-existing scratches or missing accessories). Items are often shipped in a generic white or brown box.
Apple’s online store in Spain has iPads, Macs, MacBooks and accessories. Apple’s limited 1-year guarantee excludes non-Apple accessories included with the item purchased.
MediaMarkt has in-store offers of ex-display items and open box goods. Check the guarantee available for each item.
Inevitably you’ll find that electronics tend to break down just a few days or weeks after the legal guarantee runs out! In this case you’ll have to weigh up the costs of getting it repaired or buying new.
With the high call-out fee coupled with the cost of repairs, it can sometimes work out nearly as expensive as buying a new home appliance when your washing machine or fridge stops working. However for high-value items such as cars or top-of-the-range electronics, repair is normally the best option.
Also take into account how long you’ll be without your item whilst it’s being repaired. You may be able to live without a TV for a month, but could you manage without a washing machine for that long?
First of all for electrical items and home appliances take a look at your home insurance. You may find that for certain home appliances you’re already paying for a repair service. In some cases this service could be an extra included in your electricity contract. These services may cover call-out and repair costs, or you may have to cover part of the cost. Check what you’ll be liable for before arranging for a repair.
If you decide to use a call-out technical service, avoid evenings, weekends and public holidays as these days are the most expensive.
Once the legal guarantee period has expired, repairs are only guaranteed for 3 months from the date of repair (compared with 6 months when still under guarantee). This guarantee only covers the parts that are actually changed or repaired. Make sure that you keep the invoice and that this details exactly the work that was carried out.
In the case of car repairs the guarantee is either 3 months or 2000 km.
If you have any problems your best option is to submit an official claims form.
Buying used cars
Take a look at our detailed post here.
When buying second hand goods online, keep a screenshot or printout of the original goods description in order to avoid claims from the seller that certain defects had already been indicated.