Can you sell to a person with an intellectual disability?

You may sell a sports car or cigarettes, for example, to anyone aged 18 or over. Also to someone with a intellectual disability. But the sale can be reversed if someone is under guardianship or receivership, or when they did not really want the product at all.

Guardianship, receivership or 'not wanting it anyway'

A person with an intellectual disability who cannot take good care of themselves may be under guardianship or receivership (in Dutch).

  • Guardianship: Guardianship (curatele) is for people who cannot manage their financial and personal affairs themselves and for whom protective custody and/or mentorship is not enough. A person under guardianship is not legally competent (handelsonbekwaam, in Dutch). The guardian is the person's legal representative.
  • Receivership: Receivership (bewind) is for people who cannot manage their financial affairs themselves. Receivership can be applied if the person's physical or mental condition warrants it. Or in case of excessive spending, or problematic debts. A curator (bewindvoerder) then manages their financial matters.

For every purchase (in Dutch) of a product or service, the guardian or curator must then give prior approval. If they have not given their approval, the purchase of a sports car, for example, can be reversed.

But even someone who is not under guardianship or receivership can reverse an agreement (in Dutch). The buyer must then prove that they did not want to buy the car or cigarettes at all. Such a situation can occur if, for example, someone suffers from a disorder, was drunk or has a mental disability.

The chances are slim that someone will want to reverse the purchase of cigarettes. But with a car, it is more likely to happen because the financial implications are greater.

Preventing problems

As a seller, you can do 2 things to prevent a purchase from being reversed. If you doubt that someone is capable of making the right choice, you choose not te sell a product or service.

You can also look up whether your customer is under guardianship or receivership in the Centraal Curatele- en Bewindregister, CCBR (Central Guardianship and Receivership Register, in Dutch).