On January 1, 2022, the new Consumer Warranty Act (Verbrauchergewährleistungsgesetz VGG) will come into force. In addition, further adjustments will be made to existing warranty provisions. The goal of these changes is to implement the latest EU directives, to strengthen consumer protection and to better protect digital content.
In warranty cases, it now always has to be determined whether the ABGB (Austrian Civil Code) or the VGG is applicable. The VGG only applies to contracts between entrepreneurs and consumers for the purchase of goods and the provision of digital services (now also for services given in return for personal data). Specifically excluded from this are contracts for the purchase of animals as well as services in the financial, health and gambling areas. For these cases and all other contracts, the ABGB continues to apply.
Some of the new regulations through the VGG are:
- The reversal of the burden of proof is 12 months, instead of the former 6 months. The vendor therefore has to prove up to one year after purchase that the defect was caused by the buyer and was not present at the time of delivery.
- In addition to the contractually agreed characteristics, goods or digital services must now also have objectively required characteristics described in the VGG. For any deviation from this standard, the consumer must give his explicit and separate consent. A consent given in the general terms and conditions is not sufficient.
- Digital content is now subject to an update obligation. The duration depends on whether it is a single or continuous digital service.