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Do you sell products or digital services to consumers? You must make sure these products are of good quality. In the Netherlands, anyone buying a product is legally entitled to a sound product. This is a statutory guarantee (conformity).
When is a product defective?
A product is defective (not of good quality) if it:
- is incomplete
- is damaged
- breaks easily or does not work properly
- works differently then you described on sale
- has a useful life that is shorter dan could be expected
- does not meet reasonable expectations
Defective products and consumer rights
If a product or digital service (or file) is defective, the purchaser is entitled to have it repaired or replaced (in Dutch). If the product becomes defective within 12 months of the purchase, you must prove that the defect is the purchaser's fault. After 12 months, the purchaser must demonstrate that the defect is not their fault. This guarantee also applies if a digital service (or file) seems free but is paid for with personal data.
Did you repair or replace the product? You may recover the costs you incur because of this from your supplier. This is called a right of recourse.
Apart from the statutory guarantee, there are other, additional forms of guarantees:
- The supplier or manufacturer of a product may give a supplier's or manufacturer's guarantee. This is an additional guarantee on top of the statutory guarantee.
- Sometimes, a buyer can buy an extension of the guarantee. The extended guarantee (warranty) often means a right or repair or replacement.
If you decide to offer your customer a guarantee, you give them a written or digital guarantee certificate. You can include a guarantee provision in your general terms and conditions. In case of business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, you may not use this to limit the statutory rights of customers.
Customer guarantee expiration
In the Netherlands there is no fixed statutory guarantee period. Your customer must be able to use the product in a normal way for a certain period of time. You must inform your customer of the product's features. The duration of the guarantee depends on the brand, price and useful life of the product. If the guarantee period has expired, they will still be entitled to a sound product.
For digital services or files the guarantee period a consumer is entitled to, is the same as the duration of the service you agreed with the supplier.
Selling to other businesses (B2B)
Do you sell products to other businesses? Or do you buy products from another company? For business to business (B2B) sales other conditions apply. There are for instance less rules on guarantees (in Dutch). You can include a guarantee provision in your general terms and conditions. The provisions must, however, meet the requirements of reasonableness and fairness. You must also make sure these rules are stated clearly and your customer has read these before concluding a transaction.