A couple bought an air conditioner from a local seller with a five-year commercial guarantee. Before the guarantee expired, the air conditioner developed a fault and, as a result, stopped working.

The consumers reported the fault to the seller, whose technician confirmed that the motherboard was faulty. The technician told the consumer that the defective part can be repaired. However, weeks passed and, after several attempts to communicate with the seller, the consumers were informed that the faulty motherboard was corroded and, since corrosion was not covered by the commercial guarantee, it would not be replaced free of charge.

The seller also informed the consumers that the cost to replace the motherboard was around €600/€700. The consumers refused to pay for the part’s replacement as they argued that the air conditioner was still covered by the five-year commercial guarantee. At this point the consumers lodged a complaint with the Office for Consumer Affairs. Conciliation was carried out but no agreement was reached. The consumers then opted to take the case to the Consumer Claims Tribunal.

The tribunal considered the testimony of the seller, who argued that the faulty part was corroded and hence excluded from the company’s commercial guarantee. On the other hand, the consumers argued that the commercial guarantee given to them by the seller did not exclude corrosion.

The guarantee’s document was presented as evidence, which proved that corrosion was only excluded with regard to copper pipes and in situations of gas leaks, which was not the case of the current complaint.

Hence, the tribunal concluded that since the air conditioner’s motherboard corrosion was not excluded from the applicability of the commercial guarantee, then the seller cannot refuse to provide a free repair or replacement of the defective part.

For these reasons the tribunal upheld the consumer’s claim and ruled that the trader should replace the air conditioner’s motherboard free of charge or pay the consumer €500, representing the part’s value. The tribunal also ruled that the expenses of the sitting should be paid by the trader.

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