The law provides for several warranties that apply automatically and free of charge. These warranties include:

  • normal use warranties;
  • reasonable durability warranties;
  • warranties against hidden defects.

Warranties provided for by law: your rights

Among other things, legal warranties entitle you to demand that any goods you purchase:

  • are usable for the purpose for which they are ordinarily used;
  • have reasonable durability, based on the price paid, the terms of the contract and the conditions of use;
  • are free of any hidden defects, i.e. significant defects that were present before the sale, but that were not mentioned to you and of which you could not have had any knowledge, despite exercising due caution;
  • match their description in the contract, advertisements and statements made by the representative.

You can demand the same conditions for used goods purchased from a merchant. In such cases, however, you must take into account the fact that the item is used and the degree of wear at the time of purchase.

What is reasonable durability?

The warranty on durability provides that goods must be usable in normal use for a reasonable length of time. However, the law does not specify, for example, that a TV set should last 10 years. Why not? Because to determine the reasonable durability of a given item, several variable factors must be taken into account. These include the price paid, terms of the contract and the conditions of use of the item. Thus, a TV set worth $850 cannot be expected to last as long as another TV set with similar characteristics, but that is worth $1,500.

In other words, it is all based on facts and common sense.

How to enforce your rights

What should you do if your item is defective or unusable for the purpose for which it is ordinarily used? Inform the merchant (and the manufacturer, if applicable). They can:

  • repair the item or have it repaired at no charge;
  • exchange the item;
  • reimburse you.

You may also have sustained damages while using the defective item. If such is the case, the merchant may have to provide you with compensation.

Tools offered by the Office

What happens if a merchant or manufacturer refuses to apply a warranty? To help you enforce your rights, various tools are available to you. You can first contact the Office to check whether you can use PARLe, a quick, free service offered entirely online to help you try to resolve a dispute with a merchant. If this service cannot be used or does not provide the desired results, you can use our information kit, which contains information to guide you in:

  • negotiating with a merchant or manufacturer;
  • drafting a formal notice;
  • filing a complaint with the small claims court.

Refer to the page titled Download an information kit on a reasonable length of time for goods.

To support your claim, the opinion of an expert may be required, especially if your case is to be heard before a court. This expert must be able to ascertain whether the item was unusable for normal use for a reasonable length of time, or determine whether there was a hidden defect. In the case of a TV set, for example, the expert could be a TV repairperson. In small claims court, an expert can usually testify in writing, using a Statement in Lieu of Testimony.

Need reference points?

Thanks to a partnership with the Société québécoise d’information juridique (SOQUIJ), the Office publishes summaries of the most recent judgments that deal with legal warranties, in particular those rendered by the small claims court. These summaries may be used to help support your efforts in asserting your rights with a merchant. 

Consult the Examples of judgments concerning legal warranties.

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Last update : February 13, 2020

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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.