Table of Contents
Read the general terms of a contract BEFORE you sign it: you have the right to take the time to read them before you take a decision! You should also read the small print.
Ask several estimates before you decide to buy a product or a service.
Don’t forget to precise that you want a free estimate because a professional can also charge for estimates.
A few examples of letters
A few examples of letters to notify the other party of a problem and of what you expect:
After you have contacted the other party (consumer or tradesman) to report the problem you have encountered, it is always advisable to confirm this contact by a letter (regular mail and/or recorded delivery with acknowledgement of receipt).
Hereunder you will find several examples. They can give you the outlines of what should appear in your letter. You only have to adapt the content written in blue (which is a purely fictional example) according to your needs.
- General purpose registered letter (RTF, 46.95 KB) (formal notice)
- Registered letter dealing with a product breaking down (RTF, 46.95 KB) (warranty)
- Registered letter to terminate a contract (RTF, 47.75 KB)
A formal notice is an official letter inviting the person it is addressed to (the debtor) to carry out within a fixed deadline an obligation that is his responsibility (solving a problem, paying a sum, respecting a contractual obligation, etc.). At the bottom of this page you will find some sample letters.
A formal notice should preferably be sent registered with an acknowledgement receipt, which makes it possible to prove that the formal notice has reached the person it was addressed to.
There are two ways of sending a letter by registered mail:
- Traditional post
Electronic registered delivery (by e-mail) is legal if it is carried out by a qualified service provider. Providers of this type of services can be qualified by the FPS Economy if they meet specific requirements. You will find more information on this qualification procedure on the website of the FPS Economy (available in French or Dutch).
As a business or trader, you can buy, sell, rent, lend or borrow from another trader. However, everything does not always go as planned during these transactions and disputes may occur between the parties. What should you do in such a situation?
Prioritise the Amicable Settlement of Disputes
If there is a dispute, you can always seek assistance from your lawyer, a bailiff, or the courts. However, this process takes time. Fortunately, there are experts specialised in amicable dispute resolution who can provide valuable assistance in finding a solution that suits ALL PARTIES INVOLVED! This is obviously much more beneficial and usually less expensive.
Include the Possibility of an Amicable Settlement in your Contracts
To avoid disputes from escalating to court proceedings, it's advisable to include a clause in your general terms and conditions of sale and/or in your contractual clauses, that stipulates the possibility of resolving any arising disputes amicably instead of solely relying on legal action. If unsuccessful, attempting to settle amicably will not prevent you from considering other avenues, such as the courts.
Here is an example of text that you could add to your contracts:
Phase 1 - Attempt to Settle Out of Court
The parties agree that any disagreement or dispute relating to this contract, and in particular those arising from its interpretation or application, shall be submitted to mediation before taking any legal action. To this end, the parties agree to participate in at least one mediation meeting, either in person or by appointing a person with decision-making authority. The mediator will be chosen by the parties from among the mediators approved by the Federal Mediation Commission.
The cost of mediation shall be divided equally between the parties, unless they agree otherwise.
Phase 2 - Court
If the parties are unable to reach an amicable settlement, they will refer the matter to the courts.
You are free to adapt this text by choosing another amicable settlement formula or by specifying the third party that would be involved. In all cases, the agreement of the parties is required to enter into an amicable process.
These clauses are primarily inspired by various examples proposed by the Federal Mediation Commission on its website.