The General Terms and Conditions (GTC) are established in advance by the seller of a product or a service. They set out the rights and duties of the parties to the contract and allow the consumer to clearly know the rules that apply to the contract he or she is about to sign.
We strongly recommend reading the GTC carefully before making any order and possibly keeping a copy as the GTC contain valuable information for consumers, including the:
- contact details of the seller,
- delivery times,
- consequences of non-compliance,
- duration of a subscription,
- procedure to unsubscribe,
- reimbursement etc.
If the seller has a website, you will usually find the GTC there. They appear on the preliminary cost estimate, the order forms and you will be given them upon request. The GTC must be understandable.
However, a seller has no obligation to propose GTC to his or her customers. In that case, the general rules of contract law apply.
The GTC do not prevent specific conditions. With the consent of the seller, it is possible to add a more favourable right of withdrawal for example.
Acceptance of the GTC
The GTC must have been accepted by the buyer to be enforceable. Such acceptance is either explicit or tacit.
A tacit acceptance signifies that you have had the opportunity to become familiar with the GTC before or at the conclusion of the contract and you must not have protested against them.
When the GTC are on the reverse of the order, of the letter confirming the order or of the preliminary cost estimate, their existence should be mentioned on the front side. In many cases, the contract will include a statement such as “I have read and agree to the terms and conditions” above the signature, or in a simple check box. A clause may be declared unfair by a judge if it implies significant damage to consumer rights or if it imposes more obligations. Such a clause will be rejected. However, the remainders of the agreement remain valid.