Rooting your device void your statutory warranty?

Hi everyone,

I read this useful article about rooting a device and warranty status. The article refers to the Directive 1999/44/CE that will be superseded by Directive (EU) 2019/771.

The FSFE article states:
The difference is only that if the defect arises now [i.e. **after six months**], the seller can claim that the defect was caused by some action that was triggered by non-normal use of the device. But in order to avoid needing to repair or replace your device, the SELLER HAS TO PROVE that your action caused the defect .

On EU Web site I found this statement:

If your product breaks after 6 months , you still have the right to have your goods repaired or replaced for free or, at least, to a price reduction or your money back. However, YOU MAY NEED TO prove that the problem existed when you received the goods .

In my opinion, both the new and the older directives agree with the FSFE article. Moreover, the two quotes are expressing the same concept. That is, if the defect was factory defect, already present, the seller pays. Conversely, if the defect is due to the wrong use of the customer, he pays.

Can a seller tell me that the FSFE article is not valid anymore? Who is charged to proved the existance of the problem?

Thank you in advance

Thanks for the interesting question! Unfortunately I don’t know, but perhaps @hugo?


Not exactly my area of expertise, and I did not participate in the writing of the FSFE article.

The old Directive is only repealed in 2022 (Article 23) so the FSFE article is still valid - although someone should update it to take into account the new Directive.

Bear in mind that this is a Directive, so it sets objectives and rules for EU Member States to implement. EU Member States have a (more or less wide) margin of maneuver on how to reach the objective when they implement the Directive, and may also make additional rules (as long as compatible with the Directive). For instance, France provides more protection (if I recall correctly, the 6 month rule has been dropped in France already in favour of a full 2-year presumption to benefit the consumer, but I have not checked again).

If I recall correctly, the Directive sets a presumption of proof when the defect appears in the first 6 months.

What happens when the defect appears after the first 6 months is not subject to a presumption of proof, is that the “normal” rules of evidence apply. There may be special rules on evidence in EU Law which are applicable to this, but otherwise I’d say it’s a matter of national rules (e.g. civil law).

In France (and in many if not all EU jurisdictions), the general rule is: if you allege something, you have to prove it.

If your device breaks: you allege that the break is due to a defect of the hardware. You can probably try to prove this for instance by showing that there are no visible damages (e.g. it didn’t fall) etc. (I think this is what the EU statement you quote refers to).

The seller, in turn, may allege that you broke it by rooting the phone and installing a new OS. The seller would have to prove, i.e. to convince the judge that it is more likely. (I think this is what the FSFE article quote refers to).

I have had this question several times already so I’d suggest to clarify the FSFE article :slight_smile:

Again, not my main area of expertise - this is not legal advice, I wrote this just out of my head without researching etc. Could be useful to check if someone wants to put some time to look into it.

Thank you for you reply. I agree and I think that it is time to update the original FSFE article about rooting and warranty.
I’m looking forward for an update.
Best Regards

Any update?

Any news about this?