What is the exact duration of the legal guarantee?

There are two possibilities.

  1. If you buy a new product, you, as a consumer, are legally entitled to a two-year guarantee.
  2. If you buy a second-hand item, the seller usually limits the guarantee to the legal minimum of one year. If he does not do this, you are entitled to a two-year guarantee in accordance with the law.
The seller's general terms and conditions do not refer to the two-year legal guarantee. Is the device I just bought still covered by the two-year guarantee?


The legal guarantee is a legal right. You are therefore entitled to it, even if the general terms and conditions do not mention it.

Furthermore, the seller must inform you of the two-year legal guarantee. If the seller does not do so, he is in breach of his obligation to provide information.

I bought a new device during the sales. Does the guarantee also apply to sales products?

Yes. The guarantee also applies to sales products

Guarantee legislation covers defects in consumer goods sold to a consumer by a professional seller, regardless of whether they are purchased during or outside the sales period.

I bought a second-hand item (a car, a refrigerator...). Does the legal guarantee apply?


In this case, the law provides for a standard two-year guarantee as well. However, the seller may limit the guarantee to one year, provided that this is specified at the time of sale.

In other words, the two-year guarantee applies to second-hand items, unless otherwise specified.
The seller may therefore set a shorter period, but not shorter than one year (Art. 1649quater,  Old Civil Code).

If the second-hand item breaks down within the guarantee period, you can assume that your second-hand item was already defective at the time of purchase. In case of a disagreement, it is up to the seller to prove otherwise.

If your second-hand item breaks down within the guarantee period, but the seller disputes the existence of the defect at the time of delivery and he is able to demonstrate that, you can always attempt to prove that the defect already existed when you purchased the item.

Warning: the legal guarantee will not apply if the consumer knew of the defect at the time of purchase (e.g. if the sales contract gives a detailed description of the condition of the item, as is frequently the case for the purchase of a second-hand vehicle).

Furthermore, your good might be covered by a commercial guarantee that you can invoke.

Do I have to keep the original packaging to benefit from the guarantee?


You cannot lose your guarantee claim, if you no longer have the original packaging.

Do not be deterred. That claim goes against the law.

In case of problems, you only need to be able to prove your purchase to the seller. The easiest way to do this is to keep the purchase documents, and even to make a copy of them.

The appliance (washing machine, dryer, refrigerator...) that I bought in a large supermarket a few months ago has broken down. Can the seller refuse to enforce the guarantee as there is no document mentioning the date of purchase (receipt, invoice)?

If you no longer have the document proving that you purchased the appliance, you will not be able to claim the legal guarantee from the seller or even the commercial guarantee.

Always make sure that the seller provides you with a document that identifies the item and mentions the date of purchase (and the delivery date if it is different from the purchase date).

If the document is a receipt, photocopy it (as sometimes the ink on receipts can fade) and keep it with the proof of guarantee.

You may be able to present proof of purchase in another form (e.g. a delivery note with your address and details of the appliance).

I received a tablet or mobile phone... when I bought my new TV. Does the legal guarantee also apply to the free product?


The two-year legal guarantee also applies to the second product you received as a gift when purchasing another product (tablet, mobile phone, etc.).

On the other hand, no guarantee applies, if you receive a free product when simply visiting a store, without buying anything.

Indeed, the legal guarantee only applies if goods are sold by a business to the consumer, i.e. when the consumer pays a price for them.

I bought a device as part of my self-employment. Does the legal guarantee also apply to goods purchased for professional purposes?

You do not qualify for the legal guarantee granted to consumers, if you purchased a device (e.g. a mobile phone, a tablet, etc.) in the course of your professional activity (invoice with VAT number).

You are still entitled to:

  • the commercial guarantee of the store or manufacturer;
  • the guarantee against hidden defects.
I bought two doors in a specialist shop. The installation was carried out by the seller and is faulty. Do I have any recourse against the seller?

If the installation is included in the sales contract, the faulty installation of your new doors by the seller is equivalent to a lack of conformity of the doors.

In that case, you can claim the legal guarantee.

The seller offers me an additional five-year paid guarantee. Do they have the right to do that since I already have a two-year legal guarantee?

Yes. You are, however, free to accept or refuse it.

The additional guarantee is a commercial guarantee that can only extend or increase your legal rights to the two-year legal guarantee, otherwise it is an illegal practice.

An additional guarantee must refer to the legal guarantee (and the fact that you are entitled to free remedies from the seller) and include a minimum of information:

  • the contents and conditions of the guarantee (such as the duration);
  • the procedure to be followed;
  • the designation of the product itself;
  • its geographical scope;
  • the address of the person offering it.

You should check that the additional guarantees are advantageous in relation to their cost. Reading the guarantee terms and conditions (and especially the additional guarantees) carefully can save you money.

Are spare parts (in the event of repairs) also covered by the two-year guarantee?

There are three possibilities.

  1. Repairs are carried out within the two-year legal guarantee. The legal guarantee is suspended during the period required for the repair. After the repairs, the legal guarantee starts to run again until the end of its term. Spare parts have the same guarantee period as the repaired item. If there is still a 15-month legal guarantee on the item, the spare parts are guaranteed during these 15 months.
  2. As a consumer, you buy spare parts to carry out a repair. In this case, the spare parts are guaranteed for two years. This is a contract for the sale of consumer goods by a seller to a consumer. This remains true even if you later hire a professional to install them.
  3. Outside the two-year legal guarantee, repairs are carried out using spare parts. In this case, the circumstances will influence the answer:
    1. If the installation/repair is incidental to the purchase, it is the item itself that is the most important part of the contract. This is then a contract of sale. Therefore, the item will be covered by the two-year legal guarantee.
    2. If the installation/repair prevails, the item is an accessory. This is then a service contract. Consequently, the item is not covered by the two-year legal guarantee. If the trader is bound by a performance guarantee, the repairer's liability extends to defects in the incorporated spare parts.

In its conditions, the repairer can offer a commercial guarantee for their services and the parts provided. This commercial guarantee is not specifically limited. The repairer can therefore set any conditions he wants (for example, the guarantee period could be shorter or longer than two years).

The seller refuses to enforce the guarantee because more than one year  elapsed between the breakdown and the date I reported it to the seller. Does he have the right to do this?

The law stipulates that you must inform the seller of the defect in conformity within two months from the day you noticed the defect.

The seller may refuse to apply the legal guarantee, if the deadline he set is exceeded.

In any case, it is advisable to inform the seller of the defect as soon as possible.

The puppy I bought in a shop died after two months. According to my veterinarian, it was taken ill with kennel cough. Do I have any recourse against this shop?


Animals are considered "movable property" under the Civil Code. Therefore, the legal guarantee  applies to them in full.

The seller is obliged to deliver to the customer an animal that is in conformity with the contract.

The principle according to which defects that occur within the two years are considered to have existed at the time of delivery applies here.

You are entitled to the legal guarantee unless the seller can prove that the puppy did not have this problem (kennel cough) at the time of delivery.

I have a problem with the shock absorbers in my nearly new car. According to the mechanic, this is normal wear and tear and not a lack of conformity. In which cases can I claim a lack of conformity? What is a lack of conformity?

Your vehicle conforms to the contract if:

  • it matches the description given by the seller and the model presented;
  • it is fit for any purpose required by the consumer and agreed by the seller;
  • it is fit for the purposes for which goods of the same type are ordinarily used;
  • it provides the quality and performance that are normal for goods of the same type and which the consumer can reasonably expect.

The wear and tear of the shock absorbers depends on:

  • mileage;
  • driving style (sporty or not);
  • and the conditions of use of the vehicle.

However, the abnormal wear and tear of the shock absorbers may also constitute a lack of conformity, if the cause of the defect (faulty part, assembly fault, etc.) was present when your car was delivered.

If the problem appears within two years of the delivery of your vehicle, the defect is presumed to have existed at the time of delivery.

In the event of a dispute, the garage must be able to prove that there is no lack of conformity.

In case of discussion about the proof, generally only an expert opinion will be able to determine the cause and origin of the defect.

My new mobile phone is less than six months old and does not work anymore. The seller tells me it has moisture damage (oxidation) and refuses to repair it under guarantee. What should I do?

The guarantee automatically applies during the two-year guarantee period after delivery.

Any lack of conformity (such as oxidation) observed in the first two years after the delivery of your mobile phone, is deemed to have existed at the time of delivery.

However, the legal guarantee will not apply, if the seller can prove that you have used the mobile phone improperly (e.g. by exposing it to moisture).

My new device (radio, MP3 player, etc.) is less than 2 years old. The seller is asking me for expenses (estimate, transport, etc.) for repairing it while it is under guarantee. Is this legal?


No costs (dispatch costs, costs related to the work and the material used by the repairer, estimate costs, etc.) can be requested for the repair of your appliance.

The seller does have the right to refuse to apply the guarantee, if he can prove that the problem is due to misuse on your part.

However, he may not charge for the inspection he carried out (he bears the burden of proof during the two-year guarantee period).

I bought a garment on sale that had large areas of discolouration after the first wash. The manufacturer acknowledges the problem, but the purchase receipt states that sale items cannot be refunded or exchanged. Can I ask the seller to exchange or refund my purchase on the basis of the legal guarantee?

It does not matter whether the goods (new or used) that are sold are on sale or not.

You can ask the seller to apply the legal guarantee, if you notice that a garment purchased during the sales (or not) has a lack of conformity.

A defect (discolouration after washing) observed within the first two years of purchase is deemed to have existed at the time of delivery unless the final seller can prove that you used an unsuitable washing product, for example.

In the first instance, you can request the repair or exchange of the defective product.

If repair or exchange is impossible or disproportionate, you may request a reduction in price (in relation to the defect found), or if the defect is significant, the cancellation of the sale and reimbursement of the price paid.

However, this refund may be reduced based on the use you have had of the garment.

 My device (e.g. camera) has already been repaired twice over the course of six months. I have taken it to be repaired a third time and still have not got it back. I am concerned because the two-year guarantee period is now almost over. Can I demand a new device?  

The guarantee period is suspended for the time required for it to be repaired. This means that the guarantee period is extended by the same amount of time it takes to repair the appliance.

If the repair is not carried out within a reasonable period or if it causes you major inconvenience, you may demand a replacement. If this is not possible or too costly for the seller, you can demand a price reduction or refund. The notion of major inconvenience or whether repair or replacement is impossible or too costly will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The refund may be reduced based on the use you have had of the device since its purchase.

Am I entitled to a replacement model if my device is still under guarantee and is being repaired?

Not necessarily.

There is no obligation for the seller to make a replacement model available. The seller must, however, repair the goods within a reasonable time and without major inconvenience to the consumer.

However, please check the conditions of sale. Sometimes a replacement product is foreseen during a repair. Otherwise, you may be able to claim compensation from the seller if you have to provide a replacement yourself.

My device (e.g. mobile phone) is still under legal guarantee but is irreparable and cannot be replaced because it is no longer manufactured. The seller wants to give me a voucher as compensation. Should I accept it?

You are not obliged to accept the voucher; you can demand that the seller reimburses you as provided for by the law.

Please note that if the seller reimburses you, he can take into account a depreciation, based on the use you have had of the device since its purchase.

Can the dealer from whom I bought my car refuse to honour the guarantee if I have not serviced the car at their dealership?

The seller (dealer) is responsible for any lack of conformity that exists on delivery of your car and appears within two years of delivery.

Even if you have your car serviced by another garage, the seller cannot subsequently refuse to fix a problem covered by the guarantee.

Please note

If the maintenance work was carried out incorrectly by another garage and this is the cause of the problem covered by the legal guarantee or even the commercial guarantee, this will not constitute a lack of conformity which the seller must correct.

You must contact the garage that carried out the maintenance as it is responsible for the proper performance of its service.

The seller refuses to enforce the guarantee for an appliance (e.g. a percolator, an electric kettle) because it is scratched. However, the defect has nothing to do with the scratches. Do they have the right to do this?


The seller is obliged to apply the legal guarantee, if the defect has nothing to do with the scratches.

I bought a device (e.g. a mobile phone) of which the battery is defective five months after purchase. The seller tells me that the guarantee for accessories is three months. Is that correct?


The legal guarantee for your device is two years from the date of purchase. This also applies to accessories of this device.

The seller is, therefore, obliged to repair or replace the defective accessory for your mobile phone (e.g. battery) free of charge, provided that he cannot prove that the defect was caused by incorrect use on your part.

I bought a television on the internet from a French seller. The device is now defective. Do I have the same legal guarantee rights as if I had bought it in a shop in Belgium?

If French law is applicable, the rules of the European Directive, as transposed in France, will apply to the guarantee.

You can contact the European Consumer Centre, which provides advice and assistance to consumers in the event of a purchase or dispute with a company established in another Member State of the European Union.

I bought a refrigerator at a shop that no longer works. The seller tells me to go to the manufacturer and the manufacturer refers me to the seller. Who do I actually talk to?

It is the seller in the shop where you made your purchase - not the manufacturer - who is responsible for the lack of conformity observed on the basis of the legal guarantee.

He cannot force you to contact the manufacturer to settle the legal guarantee. The seller who concluded the contract with you must therefore take every measure to apply the legal guarantee.

Please note

If the manufacturer issues a commercial guarantee that is more advantageous than the legal guarantee, you can contact the manufacturer.

Your item is still under guarantee, but the importer and seller have gone bankrupt. Can I contact the manufacturer? Can he refuse to help me?

If the seller went bankrupt, you become a creditor in the bankruptcy. Bankruptcy management can obviously take a long time, and it is not certain that you will recover your debt, i.e. the repair under guarantee, at the end of the procedure.

In this situation, you should check with the manufacturer in order to see if you have a commercial guarantee. If you do not, we still recommend that you contact the manufacturer to see under what conditions the repair is possible. However, this case is no longer covered by the legal guarantee and you may consequently be charged a fee.

Conclude sound agreements with the manufacturer. You can also use the hidden defect rule and demand directly from the manufacturer:

  • a price reduction, and keep the item;
  • or a refund, and return the item.
Your item is still under guarantee, but the manufacturer went bankrupt. What should I do?

This does not actually change much for you, as the seller is responsible for implementing the legal guarantee. If he can no longer contact the manufacturer, he must seek a solution himself or have the product repaired by a repair service. However, this alternative may slow down or complicate the repair/replacement under guarantee.

If the transaction cannot be completed within a reasonable time or without causing you problems, or is simply no longer possible, then you can:

  • demand a price reduction, and keep the item;
  • or demand a refund, and return the item.
The seller refuses to apply the legal guarantee. Do I have to assert my rights in writing?

You have two possible solutions:

  1. you obtain a verbal agreement from the seller. Written confirmation is preferable, especially if the solution cannot be implemented immediately. This can be done by the seller or, if he fails to do so, by the buyer.
  2. you are unable to obtain a satisfactory solution from the seller. You must then use the written complaint procedure. Many general terms and conditions of sale also state that complaints must be submitted in writing. Filing a complaint in writing also has its importance in terms of proof.

The written procedure starts with a simple letter or email. If the seller does not answer, you can send a reminder. If it does not produce the desired reaction, then send a formal notice by registered mail. Sometimes, this will not lead to a solution either. In the context of (possible) subsequent legal proceedings, it is highly recommended to give notice to the seller by registered mail.

You will find more information on this subject and on how to initiate this written procedure in the Belmed section.

Last update
1 December 2023