Sales law
LexInter | October 21, 2007 | 0 Comments


Sales law

Definition of sale

Article 1582 of the Civil Code defines sale as an agreement by which one (the seller ) undertakes to deliver something, and the other (the buyer ) to pay for it.

Form of sale

It can be made by authentic deed or under private signature for movable objects, it must be made by authentic deed in the  case of an immovable.

Agreement to sell

The sale can be preceded by a promise to sell



The object of the sale contract is the transfer of ownership of a thing (immovable or movable) against the payment of a price (article 1582 C. Civ ) which may be in kind or in money.

article 1582 of the Civil Code

The sale is an agreement by which one commits himself to deliver a thing, and the other to pay for it.

It can be made by authentic deed or by private signature.

The sale is governed by the provisions of articles 1582 to 1685 of the Civil Code and by common contract law.

Conclusion of the sales contract
The thing sold must be determined. The price must be determined or determinable

The seller has a duty to advise or inform the buyer. Failure to comply with this obligation is sanctioned by the award of damages or the termination of the sale.

The parties must determine the place of delivery which they are free to choose.

They are free to choose the date of transfer of properties and risks. In the absence of an express determination, this date is that of the day of the exchange of consents (art. 1583C. Civ.). The transfer of ownership may be delayed until payment of the price. This is the so-called “retention of title” clause.

The parties must specify whether the price is payable in cash or in the future.

The seller generally stipulates general conditions of sale .



Execution of the sales contract

The contract is executed by the delivery of the thing sold and its receipt, and the payment of the price

The seller’s obligations

Delivery of the thing sold

The seller has an obligation to deliver . Deliverance is the transfer of the thing sold into the enjoyment and possession of the buyer (art 1604 C.Civ)

The quantity is that fixed in the contract or by the order form.

The seller must deliver the accessories of the thing sold (art.1615C. Civ.)

When he is committed, the seller must maintain the thing sold.

The goods must be handed over at the place indicated in the contract, or as the case may be by custom. In the absence of precision, this place is where the thing is located at the time of the conclusion of the contract (art. 1608 C. civ.)

The seller must deliver within the period agreed by the parties to the contract (art. 1610 C. Civ.). If the deadline is stipulated as being mandatory, the sale can be canceled without formal notice as soon as the deadline has passed.


article 1583
It is perfect between the parties, and the property is acquired by operation of law from the buyer vis-à-vis the seller, as soon as the thing and the price have been agreed upon, although the thing has not yet been delivered or the price paid.

The parties may however derogate from this rule and dissociate the transfer of risks from the transfer of ownership.



Guarantee of hidden defects

The seller owes the buyer a guarantee that the goods are free from any defects rendering them unfit for the use for which they are intended.

The defect must be hidden and prior to the sale. He must render the thing unfit for the use for which the buyer intends it or reduce such use to such an extent that he would not have acquired it or would have given a lower price if he had known it (art. 1641 C. civ.). The hidden nature of the defect is assessed differently depending on whether it is a non-professional buyer or a professional buyer (ie of the same specialty).

Eviction Guarantee

The seller also owes the eviction guarantee (art. 1626.C.civ.).

Warranty action

The purchaser of the thing has the choice between two actions to invoke the guarantee (art. 1644 C.Civ.)

  • the crippling action which results in the reimbursement of the price by return of the item
  • the estimated action which results in a decrease in the price arbitrated by expert

Unless expressly provided, appraisal or prohibitive actions must be exercised, on pain of forfeiture, within a short time depending on the nature of the defects and the uses of the place where the sale was made (art. 1648 Civil C.)

The purchaser can request the guarantee of the hidden defect from his seller or act directly against the manufacturer.

Repairs due by the seller

The seller in good faith must reimburse the purchaser for the costs occasioned by the sale (art. 1646 Civil Code) but not for the damage caused by the item affected by the defect.

The seller in bad faith is liable for all damages for the damage suffered by the buyer (art. 1645 C. civ.). The seller who was aware of the defects in the item or who could not ignore them, as well as the professional seller, who is considered not to be able to ignore the defects of which the item is affected or is required to know them, is deemed to be in bad faith. He cannot be exempted from the presumption of bad faith.


Guarantee clauses

The seller may contractually grant a guarantee greater than that provided for by law.

The seller often seeks, through so-called guarantee clauses, in fact to make the buyer assume risks, or to provide for limitations in the time of the guarantee or the limitation of the elements of damage.

The stipulation of clauses limiting or excluding liability   is not valid for the professional seller or in the case of a professional sale. On the other hand, the clauses are opposable between professionals of the same specialty.


The essential obligation of the buyer is to pay the price.

Seller’s right of retention

The seller’s right of retention implies the possession of the item and the retention of administrative documents cannot be covered by this guarantee.

Cass. Com July 11, 2000

Ridiculous price and nullity of the sale for low price

the sale granted without a serious price is affected by a nullity which, being based on the absence of an essential element of this contract, is an absolute nullity subject to the thirty-year prescription of common law  Cass. com. 23 October 2007

Case law: Vility of the price


Sale and ownership

Article 1599 of the Civil Code provides ” The sale of the property of others is void … “.


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