Estimated reading time (in minutes)

What are your rights in a supermarket ? Are you allowed to pay in small changes?

Price display errors,  phantom promotions  , defective product, liability in the event of  breakage  or accident… Your rights in the event of a problem in a supermarket. 

The item is more expensive at checkout than on the shelves. What price to pay? 

It is the one displayed on the shelf that must be applied to you, except in the event of manifest error where the price indicated on the shelf would be manifestly undervalued compared to the real value of the product. Example: a bottle of champagne labeled €1.95 instead of €19.50.

Labeling error on the product. What price to pay? 

If the product has a price tag, the price tag should be applied to you. Except, here again, in the event of an obvious labeling error out of all proportion to the real value of the article, such as for a mobile phone at €3.50 when its real price is €350. 

Can I be refused payment by check or credit card? 

Yes, provided that this restriction is clearly brought to the attention of customers by a display at the entrance to the store and/or at the checkout. Ditto if payments by check or credit card are only accepted from a minimum amount. 

Can the cashier require the presentation of two pieces of identification if I pay by check? 

Yes, if this requirement is clearly displayed at checkout. 

Can I separate a pack of 6 bottles of water to buy only one or an 8-pack of yogurts to buy only one? 

Yes, unless the product is also sold individually or in lesser quantities. Thus, yogurts are also sold in pairs, in packs of four, eight, twelve or sixteen.
What should I do if the product has an expired BBD (use by date) or BBD (best before date)?

Do you have the right to refuse a search by a security guard? Do you have the right to rely on the prices indicated? Do we have the right to consume a product before having paid for it?

Do not buy it of course, but report this overrun to the cashier or one of the store employees so that the product is removed from sale. 

What does “transformed in France” or “produced in France” mean that can be read in the advertising leaflets of hypermarkets next to certain products? 

This means that the product in question has been prepared or cooked in France using ingredients from abroad. For example, blood sausage could have been made in France from pig’s blood from Germany or the Netherlands. Conversely, by mentioning “origin France” or “origin European Union”, the mark certifies that the product or the dish is respectively 100% French or comes exclusively from a country of the Union. 

The article promoted in the flyer is not available in store. Can I demand it? 

You can ask the brand to get it for you. The article in question may be available in another store in its network. But nothing forces the manager of the supermarket to take the plunge. Advertising leaflets often announce, next to the product on sale, the quantity available. 

The product advertised in the promotion is missing from the first day of the promotion. What to do? 

Unless the store clearly displays on its front doors that the product advertised in the flyer is not available, its absence from day one may be considered misleading advertising. You can report it to fraud prevention services. 

Can an item be returned or exchanged? 

Nothing obliges a store to take back or to exchange an article, except if it presents a latent defect. However, many companies agree to do so (double purchase, unsuitable product, etc.) by commercial gesture, on presentation of the receipt proving that the purchase was indeed made at home. Certain items must not have been unsealed (CDs, DVDs, video games, software, etc.).
I accidentally broke a bottle of oil in the store before I left. Am I obligated to pay it?
No, as long as the item is not out, you are not obligated to pay for a clumsily broken item. However, report the incident to an employee to avoid any harmful consequences for other customers (safety, cleanliness of the floor, slips, cuts, etc.). 

I bought a corked wine, what can I do? 

Keep the opened bottle and bring it back to the store with, if possible, the receipt for exchange or refund. Insist with the head of the beverage department. The brand is then free to turn to its supplier. 

A guard asks me to open my bag, is he allowed to? 

No, a security guard cannot require a customer to open their bag (or the trunk of their car). Only a judicial police officer is authorized to do so. In case of suspicion of theft, the security guard can simply ask the customer to accompany him to a room from where he will call a policeman to check the contents of the bag (or safe).
However, a security guard providing security for a public place (shopping center, supermarket, museum, etc.) can visually check the contents of your bag. If he has the slightest doubt, he will call on an OPJ to carry out a more complete search, or even a body search.
On the other hand, when you are asked to open your bags and shopping bags at the checkout, you can refuse to do so, nothing obliges you to do so. 

I broke my ankle slipping in the store. Is the store responsible? 

Yes, the store’s civil liability is engaged. A supermarket is required to ensure the safety of its customers (risk of products falling off the shelves, hygiene, cleanliness, etc.). In December 2010, the Montpellier tribunal de grande instance ordered Carrefour to pay nearly €19,000 to a person who suffered a double femur fracture after slipping on a lettuce leaf that had fallen from the fruit and vegetable section.

As I backed into the parking lot of the supermarket, another motorist hit my car. Who is responsible? 

Whether in a public car park or a private car park belonging to a supermarket, the rules of the highway code apply. You must therefore complete a joint statement provided that the other motorist has waited for you or has left his contact details on your windshield to be contacted. Similarly, a supermarket cannot be held responsible for acts of vandalism or theft from the trunk of a car parked in its parking lot. 

Are the fuels sold in supermarkets of the same quality as those at service stations? 

The fuels sold in supermarkets must meet the quality requirements set by the European Union and satisfy all vehicle engines (gasoline and diesel). European Directive 2003/17/EC requires Member States to ensure the quality control of fuels in accordance with European standards. In France, this mission belongs to the Directorate General for Energy and Climate. Whether they are branded oil tankers or large retailers, the fuels come from the same refineries. The difference may come from the addition of additives (anti-foam, odorants, greater resistance to frost for diesel, etc.), without their influence on the quality of the fuels having been demonstrated. 

Can a supermarket charge more for fuel at night because there are only automatic pumps in use? 

Since the price of fuel is free, a supermarket can increase the price of fuel delivered at night from vending machines at its service station. 

Law firm – consumer law, Update 2022