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Purchase a product: legal guarantee of hidden defects

Verified 03 October 2019 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Directorate-General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF)

When you buy a product, the seller must guarantee you against its hidden defects. The guarantee applies if several conditions are met: the defect was hidden, it existed at the date of purchase and it renders the product unusable or greatly reduces its use. You must act within 2 years after the discovery of the defect. The term of this warranty is limited to 5 years after purchase. You must prove the existence of the defect.

The legal warranty for hidden defects allows you to obtain a full or partial refund of your purchase and compensation in case of damage.

In order to implement the guarantee, the defect must:

  • be a hidden defect, i.e. not apparent at the time of purchase,
  • make the property unusable or reduce its use very sharply,
  • and exist at the time of purchase.

FYI  

General Terms and Conditions of Sale (GCS) must include information about the warranty, its implementation and its content.

The warranty applies to:

  • whatever property you have bought (new or used, on sale...) furniture or real,
  • and any vendor (professional or private), as well as goods purchased directly from the manufacturer.

Warning  

this warranty does not apply to auctions.

You 2 years from discovery of defect to implement the legal guarantee of hidden defects. The term of this warranty is limited to 5 years after purchase.

The action for the legal guarantee of the hidden defects must be brought with the seller by registered letter with notice of receipt. Your mail must be accompanied by supporting documents: delivery note, receipt...

Request the application of the legal warranty of hidden defects for a property bought new and defective

You can also directly return the property to the seller for a deposit ticket if you want a total refund.

It is up to you to prove the existence of the hidden vice. To do this, you can produce the various certificates or repair quotes.

You can also have an expert opinion carried out. To find an expert near your home, you can consult the list of accredited experts in the courts.

Who shall I contact

Total or partial refund

You can choose between 2 solutions:

  • keep the product and ask for a price reduction
  • or return the product and request a refund of the price paid and the costs incurred by the sale.

Compensation

If you feel that the professional seller knew of the defect, you can also claim additional compensation. This request can be made at the same time as the refund request.

Claim for hidden defects

This compensation may cover all damage caused (e.g.: physical injury, clothes damaged by a washing machine).

Mediation or conciliation

In the event of a continuing dispute with the seller, you can ask a third party to intervene. These may include:

Referral

If mediation or conciliation has failed, you can go to court.

Then claim damages..

The court of competent jurisdiction depends on the amount of the dispute.

The court having jurisdiction shall depend on the sums involved in the dispute.

  • For a dispute less than or equal to €10,000, it is the local court or the judicial court.
  • For litigation greater than €10,000, it's the court.