Purchase of a product: legal guarantee of hidden defects
Verified 09 May 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)
You buy one good or a product and the latter does not work as expected, because he's defective ? What are your rights ? How to make them respect and in which time limits ? We present you with the information you need to know.
The legal guarantee of hidden defects allows you to obtain a full refund (cancelation of the sale) or partial refund of your purchase and compensation in case of damage.
In order to implement the guarantee, the following 3 conditions must be met:
- The defect must be a hidden defect, i.e. not apparent at the time of purchase
- The defect must render the good unusable or greatly reduce its use
- The defect must exist at the time of purchase
the guarantee does not apply to auctions.
The general conditions of sale (GTC) must include information on the legal guarantee of hidden defects, its implementation and sound content.
You have 2 years from discovery of defect to implement the legal guarantee of hidden defects.
The duration of this warranty is limited to 20 years after purchase.
You must send the seller a registered letter with notice of receipt.
You must specify the type of refund and the compensation you want.
You can use the following model:
Your mail must be accompanied, in particular, by the following documents: delivery note, receipt...
You can also return the goods directly to the seller against the delivery of a deposit ticket if you want a full refund.
It's 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 arrange for a friendly expert opinion (i.e. ask a professional opinion on a technical issue). To find an expert near your home, you can consult the list of accredited experts from the courts.
Who shall I contact
Reimbursement in whole or in part
You have the choice between the following 2 solutions:
- Either keep the product and ask for a price reduction
- Either return the product, ask for a refund of the price paid and the costs incurred by the sale
If you believe that the professional seller knew about the defect, you can also request additional compensation. This request may be made at the same time as the request for reimbursement.
This compensation can cover all the damage caused (e.g. physical injury, clothes damaged by a washing machine).
Mediation or conciliation
If the dispute persists, you can choose one of the following solutions:
Bring the matter before the court
If mediation or conciliation has failed, you can go to court.
Then you can to seek damages.
The competent court depends on the amount of the dispute.
The competent court depends on the sums involved in the dispute.
- For a case less than or equal to €10,000, it is the local court or the judicial court.
- For a case greater than €10,000No, it's the court.
Who shall I contact
Who can help me?
Find who can answer your questions in your region
- Civil Code: Articles 1641 to 1649Legal guarantee of hidden defects
- Consumer Code: Articles L111-1 to L111-8Obligation to provide information
- Consumer Code: Articles R111-1 to D111-19General obligation to provide pre-contractual information
- Consumer Code: Articles L211-1 to L211-4General conditions of sale
- Order of 18 December 2014 concerning the content of the general conditions of sale in the area of legal guarantee
- Ministerial Response of 19 May 2020 on the limitation period for hidden defects
- Request the application of the legal guarantee of hidden defects for a new and defective purchased good
- Claim for hidden defect
- Time limits for reflection and withdrawalService-Public.fr
- Purchasing a product: legal guarantee of complianceService-Public.fr
- Purchase of a product: commercial or contractual guaranteeService-Public.fr
- Legal guarantees, commercial guarantee and after-sales serviceMinistry of Economy
- DGCCRF Fact SheetsMinistry of Economy
- Consumer associationsMinistry of Finance
- Website of the National Institute of Consumer Affairs (INC)National Institute of Consumer Affairs (INC)
- Commission website on unfair termsCommission on Unfair Terms