Commercial guarantee: a guarantee given voluntarily by the professional, but regulated by law

Avocats, Conseils en réseaux

Many brands offer a commercial guarantee on their products as a guarantee of quality and/or to reassure customers when making a purchase.

A commercial guarantee is defined as a commitment by a professional to the consumer – to ensure “reimbursement of the purchase price, replacement, repair of the good or any other service related to the good, or any requirement not related to conformity and set out in the commercial guarantee, in addition to the seller’s legal obligations to guarantee the conformity of the good” (article L.217-22 of the French Consumer Code).

Consumer information

The commercial guarantee must be provided to the consumer in a legible and comprehensible manner on any durable medium, at the latest at the time of delivery of the goods.

It must specify the content of the commercial guarantee (products, defects and/or situations concerned), how it is to be implemented, its price, duration, territorial scope, exclusions or any factors excluding the commercial guarantee, as well as the name and postal and telephone contact details of the professional (guarantor) and, where applicable, an indication of his e-mail address or any other relevant digital means.

The commercial guarantee must also state clearly and precisely that it applies in addition to the consumer’s right to benefit from the legal guarantee of conformity, under the conditions set out in Chapter VII, Title I, of Book II of the French Consumer Code, and that relating to hidden defects, under the conditions set out in Articles 1641 to 1649 of the French Civil Code.

To this end, the commercial guarantee must be entitled: “commercial guarantee contract”, and its content must specify how it applies in addition to the rights enjoyed by the consumer under the legal guarantee of conformity for the entire duration of the commercial. It must have a real advantage over the legal guarantee of conformity (e.g., longer duration, coverage of loss or theft, etc.).

Mandatory box

All commercial guarantee contracts must include an box informing the consumer of the terms and conditions for implementing legal guarantie, in accordance with the models set out in the appendix to the French Consumer Code.

The models vary depending on whether the commercial guarantee is taken out in connection with the sale of goods or the supply of digital content and services.
These boxes must also be included in the professional’s general terms and conditions of sale.

Extending and transferring the guarantee

When the consumer invokes the commercial guarantee and requests that the goods covered by the guarantee be repaired, any period of immobilization of the goods suspends the remaining guarantee period until the repaired goods are made available.

This period runs from the date of the consumer’s request for intervention, or from the date the goods are made available for repair or replacement, if this starting point is more favorable to the consumer.

The commercial period is also suspended when the consumer and the professional enter into negotiations with a view to an amicable settlement.
In the event of transfer of ownership of goods between consumers, whether for valuable consideration or free of charge, the sub-purchaser benefits from the rights acquired by the initial purchaser, relating to the commercial guarantee.

Commercial guarantee of durability

The producer of the good may grant the consumer a commercial guarantee that binds him for a period of more than two years, known as a “commercial guarantee of durability”.

If such a commercial guarantee of durability is offered, the producer has a direct obligation to the consumer to repair or replace the good, for the period indicated in the offer of the commercial guarantee of durability; he is also obliged to implement the guarantee under conditions identical to those of the legal guarantee. The producer may also offer the consumer more favorable conditions

The consumer information requirements detailed above apply to the commercial guarantee of durability. A specific box is provided for commercial durability guarantee contracts. The model for this box is also appended to the Consumer Code.

Good to know

Any professional operating in the household appliance retail sector in specialized stores (listed under codes 47.54 and 47-54 Z of division 47 of section G of the French nomenclature of activities) can ask the administrative authority responsible for competition and consumer affairs to take a position on the conformity of the commercial guarantee he is planning to set up with the provisions in force.

Avocats, Conseils en réseaux

Our law firm

From the creation of a network to its development, through the prevention of litigation or even training, our expert lawyers in distribution law support brands of all sizes.

Learn more