New week, new little legifrance point. I know, sounds like a dream, huh? We have already told you about pleeeeeein different professionals who do things that are not always super legal. Like airline pilots, flight attendants, teachers, doctors and real estate agents. Now it’s the traders’ turn. Go hop, we take out our best magnifying glass, we open the “Consumer Code” page on Légifrance, and we put on our best investigator outfit. Zé partiiiiii.
1. Refuse small change/large note
Merchants are required by law to accept cash, whether large bills or small coins. The reason: the currency is legal tender in France. According to article R 642-3 of the Penal Code, a merchant refusing this cash is liable to a fine of 150 euros. Please note, however, that the customer is required to top up, in accordance with article L.112-5 of the Monetary and Financial Code. In short, you owe 502 euros: the merchant does not have the right to refuse a 500 euro note and a two-piece. On the other hand, he has the right to refuse a note of 500 accompanied by a note of 10! Technical.
2. Do not display the price per kilo/litre
For certain prepackaged products (the majority of food products and certain hygiene or cleaning products), traders are required to display the price per unit of measurement (Kg or litre, depending on the type of product). (Source.) And sometimes, we realize that certain foods, carried over to the kilo, are expensive… Really expensive. Like, the eyes of your head and half of your soul.
3. Refuse to sell the show model
A merchant simply does not have the right to refuse a sale to a buyer. An obligation enshrined in Article L. 121-11 of the Consumer Code, stipulating “It is prohibited to refuse a consumer the sale of a product or the provision of a service, except for legitimate reasons”. Among these “legitimate reasons”: the unavailability of the product, abnormality of the request or bad faith of the applicant. A tradesman cannot therefore refuse a sale for personal reasons such as “the laziness of redoing my shop window afterwards”.
4. Make you pay the highest price for mislabeling
Let’s imagine: your small box of eggs (a dozen, preferably from free-range hens) is displayed at €2.20. At the checkout, it goes to €3.10. Well… The merchant, in accordance with article 133-2 of the Consumer Code, is required to sell it to you at the most advantageous price. That is, in this case, at €2.20. Indeed, this error can be likened to a deceptive commercial practice.
5. Order items exclusively for sales
Sales are also largely regulated by law. While traders are under no obligation to practice them, when they do, they must do so within the rules. Among the obligations: products on sale must have already been put on sale in stores and have been paid for at least one month. In fact, it is illegal to restock only for sales: only products already in stock can be discounted. (Source.)
6. Refuse the return of a product purchased remotely
This is called “the right of withdrawal“. If you buy remotely (internet, telephone or post): you have 14 days to change your mind. In this case, the merchant is required to reimburse you for the goods or services requested. Some exceptions still exist, especially for highly personalized products.
7. Sell at a loss
The resale at a loss, that is to say, the fact of reselling a product, in the state, below its effective purchase price, is totally prohibited by law. At the lowest, a trader can therefore sell at cost. Attention, there are 7 exceptions, for which it is possible to sell off below the purchase price. Among them: a cessation or change of commercial activity, the end of the season, technical obsolescence, or even for perishable products threatened with rapid deterioration.
8. Do not display the original price in case of discounts
So it’s not yet an obligation, but it’s only a matter of days! From May 28, 2022, and in the event of a promotion, any price reduction must be accompanied by an indication of the price charged before the reduction. A measure put in place to fight against false discount practices, in stores and online! In the event of non-compliance with the obligation, the action will be considered a deceptive commercial practice and will expose the trader to a 2-year prison sentence and a fine of €300,000.
9. Refuse to provide a receipt
So, printing a receipt is not mandatory, EXCEPT in two cases. First, if a customer asks for it, the merchant is obliged to provide it. Secondly, in the case of services, the receipt or invoice becomes mandatory if the order exceeds 25 euros (VAT included). (Source.)
10. Refuse to take back a defective product
The merchant is obliged to refund or replace a product in the event of a hidden defect or manufacturing defect. If the buyer finds a defect, within a maximum period of 2 years from receipt of the product, he can implement the “legal guarantee of conformity”. Upon return of the defective product concerned, the seller is obliged to repair, replace or refund it, UNLESS he can prove that the defect did not exist at the time of purchase. (Source.)
11. Bonus: Invent/modify consumer reviews
It goes without saying, but we remember it anyway: it is strictly forbidden to distribute false consumer reviews, or to modify those that already exist. These practices, considered misleading, can lead to a 2-year prison sentence and a fine of €300,000. We relax, and we calm the bulb with TripAdvisor guys! (Source.)