Analysis Latest News Supermarkets

Refusing to sell

This question refers to that of refusal to sell. On this point, article L121-11 of the Consumer Code indicates that it is prohibited to refuse a consumer the sale of a product or the provision of a service "except for legitimate reasons".

In the absence of a decision by the government, the legitimate reason will fall within the sovereign discretion of the courts.

In the past, case law has however considered that the sale of an excessive quantity of products could be considered as a legitimate reason.

Following the same reasoning, one could consider that the health crisis justifies that a trader limits the purchase volumes in order to avoid stock-outs which could penalize certain consumers, even if to date the risk of shortage has been dismissed. This practice must however be proportionate and justified (for example, a purchase limit of 4 products for pasta, sacks of potatoes or even toilet paper packs). This is what some stores are doing today in Belgium, the United Kingdom and Australia.

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