The Guarantee Act applies to the sale of consumer goods by a professional seller to a consumer who buys for private use.
Which Consumer Goods Are Covered by the Legal Guarantee?
The legal guarantee applies to all tangible goods, such as cars, refrigerators, furniture, smartphones, animals... with the exception of:
- water, gas and electricity;
- goods sold by way of execution or by authority of law;
- tangible data carriers used exclusively as digital content carriers (they are subject to the guarantee rules for digital content and services).
The legal guarantee does not apply to real estate.
Which Defects Are Covered by the Legal Guarantee?
Non-conformity of the goods, i.e. when the delivered goods do not correspond to those requested or ordered.
However, the consumer cannot invoke the legal guarantee for changes in delivery times or place of delivery, or for defects he was aware of at the time of sale.
How Long Does the Guarantee Period Apply?
The legal guarantee applies, if the non-conformity is observed within two years of the delivery of the goods.
Therefore, the legal guarantee starts at the moment of delivery of the goods to the consumer.
If the defect appears within the first six months, it is presumed to have existed since delivery. The seller must prove the contrary, if he does not agree.
- if the defect appears more than six months after delivery, the consumer is required to prove the existence of the non-conformity at the time of delivery.
The guarantee period may be reduced for second-hand goods, but may not be less than one year.
What Should You Do if You Find a Defect?
You must inform the seller as soon as possible.
The contract may provide a deadline for reporting a defect to the seller. However, this deadline may not be less than two months.
In principle, the consumer's action must take place within one year of the date on which the defect is discovered.
What Rights Do You Have as a Consumer?
A hierarchy of the means available to the consumer can be established:
- You have the right to have the goods repaired or replaced at no charge (the consumer's choice, but subject to what is possible and reasonable).
- Only if repair or replacement is disproportionate or impossible, or cannot be carried out within a reasonable period of time, you, then, have the right to demand a price reduction or reimbursement.
You may not demand a refund, if the defect is minor.
Can the Guarantee Period Be Extended?
- The two-year guarantee period is suspended during the repair or replacement period.
- You do not, then, receive a new two-year guarantee period, but the period already started resumes from the moment of replacement or the completion of the repair.
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: report.belgium.be.
Settle Your Dispute Amicably
The Consumer Mediation Service can help you with this. To use this 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
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
Tel.: +32 2 542 33 89
Fax: +32 2 542 32 43