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Who has to pay in case of breakage in a store?

Verified 25 mars 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

It is the customer who must pay, unless he can question the responsibility of the merchant.

If you have unintentionally broken an item in a store, you must make good the damage suffered by the merchant.

You are also required to make reparation if the accident was caused by persons or things under your responsibility, namely:

  • your minor child,
  • your pet,
  • or an object that you use (for example, a stroller or a cart).

  Please note : many shopkeepers will not ask you for anything, because they are covered by insurance that they have specially subscribed for this situation.

You will not be required to pay compensation to the merchant if the accident is due to a fault or negligence he has committed. This is the case, for example, if the accident is caused by a large footprint of the aisles or a poor arrangement of the products (placed too high or in unstable equilibrium).

The procedure for compensation in the event of involuntary breakage is different depending on whether you have liability insurance. This insurance is included in your home insurance and covers all the members of your household.

You have insurance

If it is an unintentional act, an accident, you can have your civil liability guarantee:

  • You must provide your identity and that of your insurance company to the merchant to make a declaration to his insurance company.
  • The merchant must give you the details of his insurance.
  • Make your own declaration to your insurance company within 5 days by registered letter and provide all details (location and date of claim, contact details of merchant, circumstances of claim)
  • And don't sign any acknowledgement of responsibility

You don't have to pay the merchant money right away.

  Warning : it will probably remain frankness your liability, you must therefore check in your insurance contract the value of this deductible.

You have no insurance

You must repair the damage done to the merchant yourself. But since this is not a sale of the product, you will only have to pay the loss actually incurred by the merchant, that is the price he paid himself for the product. The merchant must therefore justify this price by producing you the bill to buy the product you have unintentionally broken, and you do not have to pay more than this price.