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How can warranty period and level of consumer protection be determined (France)

Manufacturers, retailers and sellers are responsible for the quality and fitness of the goods they provide for consumers. Therefore it is necessary to set out warranty periods and reasonable level of consumer protection in case of defective goods.



What challenges does it focus on?

Establishing a reasonable level of consumer protection and warranty periods in France.

Short summary

EU Directive 1999/44/EC on the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees has been implemented by France. As a result of this  legislation, consumers have a right to a minimum guarantee of two years on products.

Voluntary guarantees given by a producer do not restrict the statutory rights of consumers.

The consumer is entitled to choose between repair or replacement of the goods free of charge and within a reasonable period (the seller can only refuse if this causes disproportionate costs on him in comparison with the alternative remedy, taking into account the value of the goods or the significance of the lack of conformity).
If repair or replacement are impossible, the consumer can return the good and ask for a refund or keep the item and ask for a price reduction.The same option exists if the seller cannot satisfy the consumer’s choice within a one month period after the complaint or if the solution causes a significant inconvenience to the consumer taking into consideration the nature of the good and the intended usage.

French law foresees a specific regime for latent defects. This guarantee on latent defects is applicable when the defect was hidden and not visible, when it rendered the product unfit for the use it was intended for and when it could not have been discovered by a reasonably thorough inspection before the sale. A replacement, a partial or total refund, or the cancellation of the whole contract can be obtained.  This guarantee has to be auctioned within two years of the discovery of the defect.

If the product caused damage because it was defective: the trader is responsible for damages caused by a defect in his goods, regardless of whether the damage was caused to the buyer or to a third person.

In the case of damage which is due to a defective product, the consumer has the right to obtain a repair for any damage suffered. When the consumer asks for an exchange or a refund of a defective product, if the trader does not answer within 30 days, it is considered a refusal to exchange or to reimburse and can constitute a malpractice which is punished by the criminal law.

view full explanation

Articles 1641,1386-1 and following of the French Civil Code.

Research evidence

This sharing rule can be found on European Consumer Center Network website. See alos this website.

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