Guarantee and consumer protection

Guarantee and warranty are often confused in everyday language.

Consumers are granted warranty rights against the vendor for defective products on the basis of legal provisions. A guarantee, however, is a voluntary contractual benefit provided by a principal (usually by manufacturers, but also by third-party providers, such as insurance providers, or vendors). Guarantees are only partially governed by law and exist in addition to the legal warranty rights.

It is usually guaranteed that the product will remain free of defects for a certain period of time (generally 1 to 5 years). If the product develops a defect within this time, any guarantee claims that the provider of the guarantee has agreed to in the guarantee declaration (repair, exchange, refund of the purchase price or other remedy) can be asserted against them. Unlike warranty claims, it is not important here whether the defect already existed when the product was handed over or only occurred subsequently.

The guarantee may, but need not, be free of charge and can in principle take any form (which defects are covered, whether costs are incurred for the guarantee, etc.) Guarantees are often limited and only cover certain parts or properties of a product (e.g. only the spare parts themselves, but not other repair costs are covered or wear parts are fully excluded from the guarantee).

In consumer transactions, the guarantee must fulfil the following points:

  • Reference to warranty

The principal must expressly refer to the vendor’s legal warranty obligation and make it clear that the legal warranty is not restricted by the guarantee.

  • Binding promises in advertising

The business person is bound by promises made in the guarantee pledge and by the contents of the guarantee which have been publicised in advertising.

  • Minimum information and comprehensibility

The guarantee must contain the guarantor's name and address and a comprehensible description of the content of the guarantee (term, geographical scope and guarantee claim procedure). If the guaranteed features are not described, the liability is for the usually expected features.

  •  Written form

At the consumer’s request, the guarantee must be set forth in writing or on available permanent data carriers (a guarantee displayed on a website is not sufficient).

If the business person infringes these conditions, the guarantee nevertheless remains in force, and the business person is liable for the resultant loss.

Further information on online shoppingGerman text and cross-border consumer contracts in the EUGerman text is also available at

Further links

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 22 January 2021
Responsible for the content:
  • Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection
  • Federal Ministry of Justice