Eu-import – warranty, guarantee and goodwill

EU-REIMPORT - Warranty, Guarantee and Goodwill

What warranty and guarantee do you get with an EU import?? What is goodwill and where are the differences to a non-import purchased conventionally in Germany?? To be able to answer these questions, one must first be able to distinguish between the legal warranty and the voluntary manufacturer’s warranty.

The legal warranty

The purpose of the warranty is to ensure that the subject matter of the contract corresponds to what was agreed at the time of handover. For example, the car is also really new and has no defects.

The statutory warranty always establishes a claim relationship between seller and buyer. Whenever a consumer enters into a purchase agreement with a business in Germany, the statutory warranty applies.

In the event of a material defect, the warranty provides options such as z.B. Supplementary performance, withdrawal, reduction. The contact person for the warranty is always the seller of the car.

The warranty applies by law, it can not be excluded unilaterally and is usually 2 years from the transfer of risk, ie the handover of the car. If there is a defect, it must have already existed at the time of handover. This must be proven in principle by the buyer.

The decisive factor, however, is that for consumers within the first 6 months after handover of the vehicle, there is a legal presumption that a defect already existed at the time of handover. After 6 months, however, the buyer must prove that the defect was already present at the time of delivery. However, this proof is often difficult to provide, so that the institute of the warranty loses much of its appeal after the first 6 months since handover.

The guarantee

A guarantee is the promise of a certain condition / function within a certain period of time. The warranty establishes a direct claim of the vehicle buyer against the manufacturer who has promised the warranty. A warranty is given voluntarily by a manufacturer, therefore he is free to design it to a large extent.
The manufacturer can make the warranty conditional, for example, on all service intervals being met or determine how long the warranty period will last.
Also, many manufacturers make the warranty of a stamped service book, or. invoice or the possession of a warranty certificate dependent.

If a warranty has been promised, it is binding and can be claimed by the buyer.
While the warranty wants to ensure that the car is free of material defects at the time of delivery, this is different with the guarantee. It does not depend on when the defect existed, but it is just the condition or functionality for a certain period guaranteed. Therefore, it only depends on whether a fault occurs within the warranty period. So there is no need to prove that the defect was already present at the time of delivery. This is a great advantage over the warranty.

The goodwill with EU imports

The goodwill does not justify any claims. Goodwill is a voluntary, non-binding service. However, this is usually denied by the manufacturer for EU imports. Fortunately, however, there are the above-mentioned institutes of warranty and guarantee which, are very well binding and regularly does not make the buyer dependent on goodwill.

Europe-wide warranty vs. German warranty

Mind Map EU Reimport Warranty - Warranty

Infographic EU-Import Warranty – Warranty

In the case of an EU import, often only the absence of a German warranty is of significant importance. Since the warranty under German law loses its attractiveness after 6 months and is overlaid by the warranty in the automotive industry, an EU import without a German warranty is often only a psychological, but not a legal disadvantage. In case of emergency, the warranty law of the foreign country of purchase is also still available.

The disadvantage of the guarantee is that it is almost freely formable by the manufacturer. However, it is often the case that the manufacturer essentially assumes the statutory warranty in terms of time and scope. However, it should be checked exactly what the manufacturer guarantees and on what he makes his guarantee promise dependent. The unbeatable advantage of the guarantee is its duration and the fact that it is easier to prove.

As good as always, the Europe-wide warranty is congruent with or even more complete than the legal warranty. Then it can serve as a substitute for the warranty without further ado.

Always pay attention to the specific warranty conditions set by the manufacturer. Such as the stamped service booklet! The warranty period often starts when the vehicle leaves the foreign dealer and not only when the car is handed over to the end customer by the re-importer.

Which national law applies?

The good news is; there is always a warranty and a guarantee even with EU imports. However, it is questionable with whom any claims can be asserted and which national law applies.

First of all, it should be noted that the question of which law applies is only important if there is a dispute at all. In most cases a seller/manufacturer will fulfill this voluntarily in case of justified claims.

In the case of a cross-border situation, resp. The application of foreign law can, of course, result in increased costs. Nevertheless, despite the application of foreign law, it can be assumed that similar standards of legal protection are guaranteed within the EU member states, which can also be enforced in court.

For the warranty applies:

As already written above, the warranty is enforced against the seller. As a rule, the warranty law of the country of the place of sale applies.

If the purchase contract is concluded with a German re-importer, German purchase law generally applies and the statutory warranty under German law applies.
An agent, on the other hand, usually only mediates the contractual partner, i.e. the foreign dealer, so pay attention to who is listed as the seller in the purchase contract.
In the case of direct purchase from a dealer in another EU country, the national law of the country of purchase also applies as a rule.

There are also foreign dealers who offer a German sales contract. Most of them will sell exclusively under their domestic conditions and thus insist on their national law. If foreign law applies, then you do not have a German warranty, but you still have the warranty according to the respective country of purchase.

For the warranty applies:

With the warranty, however, it always looks the same. The warranty of the country for which the car was intended by the manufacturer always applies. No matter if buying from a re-importer, via an intermediary or directly from a foreign dealer. From the manufacturer’s point of view, the car should only be sold in the country of export and only this country is covered by his warranty promise.

Nevertheless, the warranty acquired in the EU foreign country compared to the German dealer in practice almost never represents a minus.
The manufacturers offer almost always exactly the same warranty within the different member states of the European Union. In addition, the warranty work can also be carried out at any authorized EU dealer.

It should be noted, however, that it is best to contact the manufacturer first and ask him to name a workshop in the vicinity that will carry out the warranty service. Here’s how to be on the safe side. Because one does not have a direct claim against the authorized dealer in Germany, but only against the manufacturer itself. Which is however obligated to name a local dealer who then carries out the warranty service.


If possible, the applicability of German warranty law should be preferred because of easier enforceability. At the same time, however, it is always possible to enforce the foreign warranty law. This is initially more costly and time-consuming. Within the EU, however, you can expect similar to the same legal standards.

If you fulfill the warranty requirements of the manufacturer (which is easily possible), you can fully rely on them and neglect the warranty law nationally and internationally.

The eierlegende Wollmilchsau, the foreign dealer who agrees to the application of German purchase law without additional charge, will be rare to find. Who wants to be completely safe, buys his EU import from the German re-importer and thus has a German warranty.
In the end, it has to be weighed up whether the purchase price or a warranty according to German law can be saved. Because as a rule, the German warranty will increase the purchase price.
Economy foxes and smart EU citizens do not calculate with the warranty in case of dispute, but fully rely on the Europe-wide warranty.

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