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Purchase of a product: legal guarantee of conformity

Verified 22 October 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Enforcement (DGCCRF)

When you buy a product, it must be in accordance with the intended use and description of seller. There is a legal guarantee of compliance. This guarantee applies to defects to delivery date. It shall apply 2 yrs maximum after delivery of new goods and 1 Year for second-hand goods. It also applies to products and services digital. In case of dispute, you can call on a mediator. If you fail, you can go to court.

Good

The legal guarantee of conformity is a guarantee against all defects of manufacture when purchasing or delivering a product.

It is mandatory. Every seller must provide a legal guarantee of compliance on every product.

The legal guarantee is different from commercial guarantee (optional). When you read about a product 2 year guarantee, this is the commercial guarantee.

The legal guarantee applies to digital or non-digital goods.

Defects concerned

We talk about non-compliance in the following situations:

  • Unfit for the usual expected use of a similar good (for example, a product usually intended to run wirelessly on a battery that finally has to be plugged in to the mains)
  • Property that does not match the description given by the seller even if it works perfectly (for example, the colour does not match the model presented)
  • This is not the same as the qualities announced by the seller or agreed with you (for example, a suction hood presented as particularly quiet, which turns out to be noisy).
  • Although it has a manufacturing defect, an imperfection, a bad assembly
  • Installation that was not done properly by the seller or incomplete or incomprehensible installation manual preventing you from mounting the device properly

Defects can be caused by:

  • of the good in itself,
  • packaging,
  • mounting instructions,
  • of the installation where it has been made by the seller or carried out under his responsibility.

However, the statutory guarantee of conformity does not apply in the following cases:

  • You were aware of the defect at the time of purchase
  • You could not ignore the defect at the time of purchase (for example, if the seller informed you)
  • The defect is caused by materials you have supplied or added (for example, if you put a non-compliant battery in your phone).

Which contracts are covered by the statutory guarantee of conformity?

The statutory guarantee of compliance shall apply to the following contracts:

  • Sale of new or second-hand material goods (articles, furniture or goods)
  • Sale of digital goods and services (subscription or purchase of software, subscription to a television or music channel in streaming, downloading a file, etc.)
  • Supply of goods to be manufactured or produced (making furniture, custom windows, etc.).

The legal guarantee of conformity does not concern property sold by public auctions or by a commissioner of justice (former judicial officer and judicial auctioneer).

Contracts shall be concluded between consumer and seller professional. The guarantee does not apply in case of sale between 2 individuals or between 2 professionals.

FYI  

water and gas are concerned only when they are sold in volume or quantity (bottle, filling of tank...).

Seller Information

The seller must inform the customer about his products (essential functions, technical characteristics...).

He must also advise the seller: the seller must find out about the customer's needs and be able to inform him correctly according to the intended use.

The general terms and conditions of sale (GCS) of the product must include information on the guarantee, its implementation, its content and its duration.

Thus, the GCS must include the following elements:

  • Information on the price or any other benefit provided at or in addition to the payment of a price
  • Identity of the professional who is responsible for the legal guarantee of conformity on goods, digital content and digital services, the guarantee of hidden defects, the commercial guarantee and the after-sales service (name, address, telephone number, email address)
  • Information on legal guarantees for contracts for the provision of digital content and service. This information must be included in a box setting out the conditions for implementing the legal guarantee of conformity.

FYI  

for a digital product or service, the seller must inform the customer, through this box, of the expected life of the product and the duration of the updates.

Required on certain purchase invoice

The invoice must include the legal guarantee of compliance and its duration for the following purchases:

  • Appliances
  • IT Equipment
  • Consumer Electronic Product
  • Telephone
  • Camera
  • DIY or gardening tool with electric or thermal motor
  • Game and toy, including video game console
  • Sports article
  • Watch and clock
  • Lamp and luminaire
  • Sunglasses
  • Furniture

Please note

this is not mandatory on invoices for remote purchased goods.

Répondez aux questions successives et les réponses s’afficheront automatiquement

You notice a defect less than 2 years after delivery

You have 2 years after delivery of the property to use the warranty. The procedure is free.

The defect is automatically considered to have been made before the product was purchased. Therefore, you do not have to prove the date of occurrence of the defect.

If the seller disputes the application of the warranty and believes that the defect occurred after the purchase, it is up to the seller to prove it.

You can return the product to the seller for a deposit ticket or notify the seller by mail, preferably by registered letter with notice of receipt. You can use a document template to write your mail:

Forbid the seller to deliver goods in accordance with the ordered goods

Your mail must be accompanied by proof of purchase: delivery note, invoice, receipt.

Please note

for a digital product or service that contains updates, the warranty lasts until the end of receipt of updates. In case of repair of a digital product, the customer may request a extended warranty until the product is restored.

You must choose between repairing and replacing the non-compliant asset. If there is a clear cost difference between the 2 options, the seller can impose the cheapest option.

You can get a full (return the product) or partial (keep the product) refund if these 2 options:

  • are not possible (for example if manufacturing has been stopped),
  • or cannot be implemented within one month of your claim,
  • or you create a major inconvenience.

You can also request damages in court if the lack of compliance has caused you harm that you are able to prove. For example, you could not use your washing machine.

FYI  

if you implement the guarantee during the withdrawal period (14 days from receipt of the goods in case of a home walker or distance selling), this one will be interrupted. The retraction timeout count will start upon delivery of a new compliant product, whether repaired or replaced.

You notice a defect more than 2 years after delivery

You can no longer benefit from the legal guarantee of compliance.

Optionally, you can benefit:

If your dispute persists with the seller, you can ask a third party to intervene. This may include:

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

The competent court is dependent 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.
Who shall I contact

Used good

The statutory guarantee of conformity is a guarantee against all defects of conformity already existing on the date of delivery of the product.

It is mandatory. This is a consumer right established by law. Every seller must respect this right. Its content is also fixed by law.

The legal guarantee is therefore different from the commercial guarantee (optional). When a seller talks about a product guaranteed 1 year (or other duration), this is most often the commercial guarantee.

The legal guarantee applies to digital or non-digital goods.

Defects concerned

Non-compliance is referred to in the following situations:

  • Unfit for the usual expected use of a similar good (for example, a product usually intended to run wirelessly on a battery that finally has to be plugged in to the mains)
  • Property that does not match the description given by the seller even if it works perfectly (for example, the colour does not match the model presented)
  • This is not the same as the qualities announced by the seller or agreed with you (for example, a suction hood presented as particularly quiet, which turns out to be noisy).
  • Although it has a manufacturing defect, an imperfection, a bad assembly
  • Installation that was not done properly by the seller or incomplete or incomprehensible installation manual preventing you from mounting the device properly

Defects can be caused by:

  • of the good in itself,
  • packaging,
  • mounting instructions,
  • of the installation where it has been made by the seller or carried out under his responsibility.

However, the statutory guarantee of conformity does not apply in the following cases:

  • You were aware of the defect at the time of purchase
  • You could not ignore the defect at the time of purchase (for example, if the seller informed you)
  • The defect is caused by materials you have supplied or added (for example, if you put a non-compliant battery in your phone)

What contracts are involved?

The statutory guarantee of compliance applies only to contracts:

  • sale of new or second-hand tangible goods (e.g. articles, furniture or goods),
  • supply of goods to be manufactured or produced (e.g. furnishings of kitchens, custom windows).

The legal guarantee of conformity does not concern property sold by public auctions or by a commissioner of justice (former judicial officer and judicial auctioneer).

Contracts shall be concluded between consumer and seller professional. The guarantee does not apply in case of sale between 2 individuals or between 2 professionals.

FYI  

water and gas are concerned only when they are sold in volume or quantity (bottle, filling of tank...).

The seller is bound by a general obligation to provide information on his products (essential functions, technical characteristics...).

It also has a duty to advise: the seller must be informed about the customer's needs and be able to inform him correctly according to the intended use.

The general terms and conditions of sale (GCS) of the product must include information on the guarantee, its implementation and its content.

Répondez aux questions successives et les réponses s’afficheront automatiquement

You notice a defect less than 1 year after delivery

You have 1 year after the delivery of the property to implement the guarantee.

The procedure is free.

The defect is automatically considered to exist at the time of delivery. You do not have to provide proof of the date of occurrence of the defect.

If the seller disputes the application of the guarantee and considers that the defect has occurred after delivery, it is up to the seller to prove it.

You can return the product to the seller for a deposit ticket or notify the seller by mail, preferably by registered letter with notice of receipt. You can use a document template to write your mail:

Forbid the seller to deliver goods in accordance with the ordered goods

Your mail must be accompanied by proof of purchase: delivery note, invoice, receipt,...

Warning  

after this 1 year period, it is up to you to prove that the defect was present at the time of delivery.

You must choose between repairing and replacing the non-compliant asset. If there is a clear cost difference between the 2 options, the seller can impose the cheapest option.

You can get a full (return the product) or partial (keep the product) refund if these 2 options:

  • are not possible (for example if manufacturing has been stopped),
  • or cannot be implemented within one month of your claim,
  • or you create a major inconvenience.

You can also request damages in court if the lack of conformity has caused you harm that you are able to prove, such as deprivation of use. For example, you could not use your washing machine.

FYI  

if you implement the guarantee during the withdrawal period (14 days from receipt of the goods in case of a home walker or distance selling), this one will be interrupted. The retraction timeout count will start upon delivery of a new compliant product, whether repaired or replaced.

You notice a defect more than 1 year after delivery

You have 1 year after the purchase of the property to implement this guarantee.

You must prove that this defect existed before the sale.

You can return the product to the seller or notify the seller by mail, preferably by registered letter with notification of receipt. You can use a document template to write your mail.

Forbid the seller to deliver goods in accordance with the ordered goods

Your mail must be accompanied by proof of purchase: delivery note, invoice, receipt...

You must choose between repairing and replacing the non-compliant asset. If there is a clear cost difference between the 2 options, the seller can impose the cheapest option.

You can get a refund in full (by returning the product) or in part (by keeping the product if these 2 options:

  • are not possible (for example if manufacturing has been stopped),
  • or cannot be implemented within one month of your claim,
  • or you create a major inconvenience.

You can also request damages in court if the lack of conformity has caused you harm that you are able to prove, such as deprivation of use. For example, if you could not use your washing machine.

If your dispute persists with the seller, you can ask a third party to intervene. This may include:

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

The competent court is dependent 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.
Who shall I contact

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