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Warranty law New July 2021

The directive on certain contractual aspects of digital content and digital services (DIRL, Directive (EU) 2019/770) and the directive on certain contractual aspects of the sale of goods (WKRL, Directive (EU) 2019/771) are to be implemented by national implement laws. A reform of the warranty law for consumer transactions was therefore also necessary in Austria.

Both directives relate to consumer transactions, i.e. contracts between companies and private individuals, and primarily include sales contracts for goods, i.e. movable objects, including goods that have yet to be manufactured. "Goods with digital elements" are specifically mentioned. This means, for example, "smart goods" such as smartphones or an "intelligent" fitness watch.

For the first time, the DIRL creates EU warranty regulations for contracts for the provision of digital content (e.g. software, music and audio files, e-books) and digital services (e.g. cloud services, social media), also against the provision of personal data, without that a fee in the conventional sense must be paid for this. These should also fall under the warranty law. If you have an account with a free video streaming platform, for example, you can rely on the warranty in the event of a defect. If the problem is not resolved, consumers can request that their data not be used further.

An update obligation has also been included for digital services and digital elements of goods. In the future, entrepreneurs will be obliged to provide free software updates. In the case of digital services such as cloud services, continuous provision must be guaranteed over the entire contract period.

A significant innovation is also the seller's obligation to bear the "assembly and disassembly costs" of goods that have been assembled or installed as intended.

The seller is responsible for non-conformities of the goods, which exist at the time of delivery and become apparent within 2 years after delivery. Basically, the existing basic concept was retained. The period until the so-called reversal of the burden of proof to the detriment of consumers occurs is doubled with the new law: from 6 to 12 months. The entrepreneur now has to prove that the defect only appeared later, which is a much better starting point for consumers

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