According to a ruling by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), internet retailers only have to provide information about manufacturer guarantees if they are relevant to the customer's purchase decision. This is the case if the guarantee is an essential feature of the offer, the first civil senate in Karlsruhe decided (Az. I ZR 241/19). The judges followed a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
In this specific case, a seller of Swiss army knives had sued a competitor because he considered his information about the guarantee to be insufficient. The dealer had linked to the manufacturer's product information without giving any more detailed information about the guarantee contained therein. In 2018, the plaintiff lost with the demand for an injunction before the Bochum Regional Court and later won the appeal before the Hamm Higher Regional Court.
BGH overturns OLG verdict
The BGH now overturned this judgment and restored that of the regional court. In this case, the guarantee was not a selling point, explained the presiding judge Thomas Koch.
In the meantime, the Senate had turned on the ECJ. This decided a few months ago that there is an obligation to provide information if customers have a legitimate interest in receiving information about the manufacturer's guarantee from the entrepreneur with regard to their decision to conclude a contract. If this is a central or decisive feature of the offer, the seller must provide all the information about the conditions of the guarantee "that enable the consumer to decide whether to enter into a contractual relationship with the entrepreneur".
Judge Koch said at the verdict: "After the ECJ decision, that was a relatively clear case." At the hearing at the end of September, the lawyers on both sides followed the arguments from Luxembourg. Lawyer Axel Rinkler said at the time that even if that meant that consumer protection would be neglected, especially for those consumers who wanted to obtain detailed information.
Basically, there is also a difference between the statutory warranty of two years and a guarantee that is usually granted voluntarily by the manufacturer.