Time limits of complaint

According to the EU-rules, consumers always have two years to complain about a defective product. In Iceland this period can sometimes go up to five years when it concerns goods the consumer can fairly expect to last longer (this would include cars, refrigerators, washing machines etcetera). However you need to complain to the trader without any undue delay after you notice the defect or else you might lose your right to have the fault remedied. The time limit for this can vary within the EU but member states may provide that, in order to benefit from his rights, the consumer must inform the seller of the lack of conformity within a period of two months from the date on which he detected such lack of conformity.

Even if the stipulated time period has passed, the buyer may still be entitled to compensation due to a defect. The trader may have displayed such conduct as to make it abnormal to refuse a consumer’s demand for compensation. Under consumer law, the time period in which a consumer must issue a complaint about a defect does not apply if the trader has shown culpable negligence, or if his or her conduct is not in accordance with honest, upright business practices. This however, is not very common in practice.

 It is the consumer who must prove that a product is indeed defective. However, unless proved otherwise, any lack of conformity which becomes apparent within six months of delivery of the goods shall be presumed to have existed at the time of delivery unless this presumption is incompatible with the nature of the goods or the nature of the lack of conformity. So if a product brakes down within six months of delivery, it is assumed that the item was faulty at the time of delivery, unless the trader can prove otherwise or if the brake-down really isn´t due to a defect but more the nature of the product.

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