Amendment of the warranty rules for purchase and work contracts

Your contact

On 1st January 2013, the new Articles 210 and 371 CO modifying the statute of limitation applicable to warranty claims for purchase and work contracts entered into force. The revision brings three substantial modifications.

1. Extension of the time limitation period for purchase and work contracts

Any claim for breach of warranty of quality and fitness becomes time-barred two years after delivery of the object to the buyer (Article 210 paragraph 1 CO), instead of one year. The revision aligns the Swiss rules to the notice and time-limitation periods for warranty claims provided for in the United Nations Convention on contracts for the international sale of goods (CISG) as well as in the Directive 1999/44/CE of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 May 1999 on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees (OJEC 1999 L 171). The purchaser of a movable good delivered after 1st January 2013 has a two-year deadline from delivery to notify the defects to the seller, even though the defects were discovered after the delivery or the contract was concluded after 1st January 2013. After this two-year deadline, the claims based on warranty for the defects of the object of the purchase are time barred and therefore declared inadmissible. For reasons of coherence and coordination, the time limitations for work contract on movable goods are equally extended to two years from acceptance of the work (Article 371 paragraph 1 CO). The period of limitation remains of a dispositive nature, and the parties have the possibility to agree to shorter or longer durations, except for contracts concluded with consumers (see point 2 below).

Notice and time-limitation periods in respect of defects in a building remains unchanged to five years after ownership is acquired (Article 219 paragraph 3 CO) or from the reception of the immovable property (Article 371 paragraph 2 CO). The new Articles 210 paragraph 2 CO and 371 paragraph 1 CO introduce a five-year period in relation to defects of an object that has been incorporated in an immovable work, this to make possible recourse claims of contractors against their sub-contractors or other providers.

2. No possibility to reduce the time limitations for consumer contracts

The two-year period applicable to purchase and work contracts becomes semi-mandatory with regard to contracts concluded with consumers. Such time-limitation cannot be reduced by contract if the purchased object is intended for personnel or family use and the seller is a professional (new Article 210 paragraph 4 CO). Any clause reducing the two-year time limitation period is null and void. It goes without saying that the parties can agree on a longer time limitation period. The provision applies by analogy to work contracts concluded with consumers.

3. Deception of the purchaser

Another significant amendment relates to the purchasers’ protection when the purchasers have been intentionally misled by the seller. The seller cannot rely on time limitations if the purchaser demonstrates that the seller misled it intentionally when concluding the contract, this independently of the contractual or legal nature of the limitation period (Article 210 paragraph 6 CO). In this connection, under Article 199 CO, which remains unchanged by the revision, any agreement to exclude or limit warranty obligations are void if the seller has fraudulently concealed the failure to comply with warranty from the purchaser. Both provisions apply by analogy to warranty for defects in relation to work contracts. In both cases, if the seller intentionally misleads the purchaser or fraudulently conceals a defect, the purchaser’s claims are time-barred after 10 years.

The revision of the warranty rules for defects in relation to purchase and work contracts strengthens consumer rights allowing them to benefit form a warranty regime for a period of two years. It also improved the position of contractors against their providers of goods or services. Last, implications for businesses go beyond consumer and contractors’ protection since statutory time-limitation period in relation to defects of the purchased object or of the contracted work are extended for any type of purchase and work contract; the two-year limitation period may however be modified contractually. Businesses should take this important revision into account when drafting warranty clauses and reviewing general conditions, particularly warranty clauses in relation to consumer contracts.

Share post

most read


MLL Legal

MLL Legal is one of the leading law firms in Switzerland with offices in Zurich, Geneva, Zug, Lausanne, London and Madrid. We advise our clients in all areas of business law and stand out in particular for our first-class industry expertise in technical-innovative specialist areas, but also in regulated industries.

MLL Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep


Much is still unclear in relation to liability questions around AI tools.

Read our latest post about “Liability during the Lifecycle of an AI Tool” and download our white paper.

Show article.

Our Story

MLL Legal is a leading Swiss law firm with a history that dates back to 1885. The firm has grown both organically and by means of strategic mergers, the latest of which took place on 1st July 2021 between Meyerlustenberger Lachenal and FRORIEP.

The merger establishes MLL Legal, a combined new entity as one of the largest commercial law firms in Switzerland with 150 lawyers in four offices in Switzerland and two offices abroad, in London and Madrid serving clients seeking Swiss law advice.

Our firm has a strong international profile and brings together recognised leadership and expertise in all areas of law affecting commerce today, with a focus on high-tech, innovative and regulated sectors. 

About us


Click here for our latest publications


Read all our legal updates on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses.

COVID-19 Information

Job openings

Looking for a new challenge?

Our talented and ambitious teams are motivated by a common vision to succeed. We value open and straightforward communication accross all levels of the organisation in a supportive working environment.

Job openings

Firm News

Click here for our latest firm news.

Our Team

The regulatory and technological landscape continually require businesses to adapt and evolve.
Our 150+ lawyers are continuously innovating and striving for improvement in everything they do. We embrace new ideas and technologies, combining our wealth of expertise with creative thinking and diligence. With our hands-on approach, we implement viable solutions for the most complex legal challenges.

Our Team.

LexCast – the podcast series by MLL NexGen

Smart legal education on the go. The LexCast hosted by MLL NexGen provides legal insights in a short format that allows listeners to educate themselves on and about legal issues wherever they are and whenever they find the time.

Listen to our podcast series – stay tuned.

MLL Legal on Social Media

Follow us on LinkedIn.