In addition to the legal guarantee, Art. 1649bis and following of the Civil code also regulate the commercial or contractual guarantee.

What is the Difference Between the Legal Guarantee and the Commercial Guarantee?

Legal Guarantee

  • It is compulsory: you are automatically entitled to receive it from the final seller who sold you the goods.
  • You do not have to negotiate it.
  • The seller cannot limit this guarantee.

As a consumer, you are entitled to the legal guarantee in all cases against the seller from whom you purchased the product. The seller cannot limit this guarantee. It is valid for two years from the date of purchase of the goods. If you wish to contact the seller to make use of your legal guarantee, you must have a proof of purchase for the goods (example: the invoice). You can find more information in the “Guarantee” section on our website.

As the legal guarantee is a legal obligation, any clause contrary to the law is null and void. This also applies to second-hand goods, with the only difference being that the seller can reduce the legal guarantee to one year (instead of two years for new goods). If the seller has not specified anything, you will also have a two-year guarantee for second-hand goods.

When you, as a consumer, sell a good to another consumer, that good remains covered by the original seller's legal guarantee for the remaining period.

Commercial Guarantee

  • The commercial guarantee is not mandatory: it can be issued by the final seller or by the manufacturer.
  • The commercial guarantee may be free or chargeable.
  • The seller's commercial guarantee cannot reduce the legal guarantee of the final consumer. It must be more advantageous than the legal guarantee.

This is a contractual (not legal) guarantee which is not mandatory. The seller/manufacturer is therefore free to determine the conditions of this guarantee. You should consult them to find out what the warranty covers and for how long.  The seller/manufacturer may legally decide that the contractual guarantee is limited to the first buyer of the goods.

Warning: a commercial guarantee should not have a duration of two years, contrary to the legal warranty provided by the seller.

Example: you bought a new refrigerator in a store.

The legal guarantee is two years: in the event of a proven lack of conformity, you have the right to have the device brought into conformity free of charge. Even if the commercial guarantee document provided by the manufacturer states that only the refrigerator compressor is guaranteed for a period of five years (but does not cover travel and labour), you do not lose the two-year legal guarantee offered by the seller.

What Does the Law Say About the Commercial Guarantee?

  • The commercial guarantee can be issued by the final seller or by the manufacturer.
  • The commercial guarantee is binding on the issuer.
  • The commercial guarantee must clearly state that the buyer is legally entitled to remedies against the seller, free of charge, in case of lack of conformity of the consumer goods.
  • The commercial guarantee must state a number of essential details, such as the duration of the guarantee, the procedure, its geographical scope and the name and address of the guarantor.

See our guarantee guidelines (PDF, 252.19 KB).

Disputes and Complaints

Breaches of the Legislation

Compliance with the application of the guarantee legislation is monitored by the Directorate General of the Economic Inspectorate. You can report any illegal or unfair commercial practice to this body at:

Settle your Dispute Amicably

The Consumer Mediation Service can help you with this. To use the service, you must  have first tried to reach an amicable agreement (in writing) with the company.

Consumer Mediation Service
North Gate II
Boulevard du Roi Albert II 8 bte 1
1000 Brussels

Tel.: +32 2 702 52 20
Fax: +32 2 808 71 29

The Consumer Mediation Service provides various online complaint forms.

Cross-Border Disputes and Complaints

The European Consumer Centre has a service providing advice and assistance to consumers in the event of a dispute with a company established in another Member State of the European Union, Norway or Iceland.

European Consumer Centre
Rue de Hollande 13
1060 Brussels
Tel.: +32 2 542 33 89
Fax: +32 2 542 32 43

Last update
11 July 2022