Direct Manufacturer Liability


In a two-part publication in the Zeitschrift für Verbraucherrecht (VbR), Professor Christiane Wendehorst deals with the upcoming revision of the warranty law and the implementation of the Directives (EU) 2019/770 and 771. She pleads for a direct liability of the manufacturer, which would create relief for domestic traders and strengthen consumer rights and sustainability.

The Austrian legislator has only one year left to transpose the Directive on the provision of digital content and services and the Directive on the sale of goods into national law. In a feasibility study recently published in the Austrian Journal of Consumer Law, Professor Wendehorst examines the question of why Austria should follow the example of some foreign states and provide for a direct claim of the consumer against the manufacturer or importer in the case of defective goods. Such a claim would create relief for domestic traders, strengthen consumer rights in cases like the "Dieselgate” scandal and contribute to more sustainability and climate protection, because exactly those who can best control product quality would have to take responsibility for substandard products.

Prof. Dr. Wendehorst has already worked intensively on these issues in the run-up to the Directives. Essential elements of the Directives, namely on goods with digital elements and on updates, can be found in the drafts she submitted in 2016 and 2017. She is also a member of a group of experts which advises the Federal Ministry of Justice on issues of implementation. The first part of the feasibility study has already been published (VbR 2020/54). The second part with detailed proposals for legal implementation will follow shortly (VbR issue 4/2020). The contributions are available at