Consumer Goods and Your Rights

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The Consumer Rights Act protects you in almost all purchases you make. Here we explain The Consumer Rights Act, The Sale of Goods Act 1979, and what it means when buying goods or services. Read on for more free legal advice

The Consumer Rights Act And The Sale of Goods Act 1979 

Under The Consumer Rights Act 2015 and The Sale of Goods Act 1979 (for purchases made before 1 October 2015), the law says that any goods you buy must be: 

“Of satisfactory quality; Fit for any particular purpose made known to the seller; and. As described”.

Product quality – what should you expect?

The Consumer Rights Act states all products must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.  The rules include digital content within this definition. All products – whether physical or digital – must meet the following standards and must be:  

  • Fit for purpose.  The goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, AND any specific purpose you made known to the retailer before you agreed to buy. 
  • As described.  They must match any description given to you, or any models or samples shown to you at the time of purchase.
  • Of Satisfactory quality.  Goods shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when you receive them. You should consider what a reasonable person would consider satisfactory. For example, pound shop products won’t be held to as high standards as luxury goods.

One aspect of a product being of satisfactory quality is durability; how long will it last.

How Long Do I Have To Return A Faulty Product?

The Consumer Rights Act gives you the legal right to either: 

  • get a refund for goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described, or 
  • get it repaired  – depending on how long you’ve owned it:
    • 0 – 30 days – you can claim a full refund for goods of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described. 
    • 30 days – six months – you must give the retailer one opportunity to repair or replace it before you can claim a refund
    • six months or more – you must give the retailer one opportunity to repair or replace it before you can claim a partial refund. The burden of proof is on you to prove the product is faulty

If you’d prefer a repair or replacement in the first 30 days you can ask the retailer, but they cannot refuse to give you a refund.

The 30 day right to a refund doesn’t apply to products you’ve bought as downloads – such as music, games or apps. You can, however, ask for a digital product to be repaired or replaced if it develops a fault. If this isn’t possible, you have the right to get a price reduction. This could be the full amount you paid. 

The 30-day period is shorter for perishable goods. It will be determined by how long it is reasonable to have expected the goods to last. For example, fresh food would be expected to last until its use-by date if stored correctly.

Sale Of Goods Contract

Under various consumer laws, when you buy something you have certain rights and protections. The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 are just two of the Acts that safeguard you as a consumer. You can ask our solicitors for advice on the “sale of goods contracts and other free legal advice HERE.

Statutory Safeguards

Statutory protection exists to protect vulnerable parties when entering a sale of goods contract. That said, statutory rules do not state that consumers have no responsibilities or liabilities when they enter into a contract.

Both the buyer and the seller must perform their respective parts of the agreement for it to be valid. Failure to do so could result in the buyerbeing liable for loss or damages that the seller may incur. Furthermore, the seller would be within their rights to cancel the contract. They could request that you reimburse them for any additional expenses that they have had to pay as a result.

Buyer Obligations

Section 27 of the Sale of Goods Act states that one of the basic obligations between a buyer and a seller in relation to a sale of goods contract is that the seller should deliver the goods and the buyer should accept the goods under the terms of the contract. 

Buyers must accept the goods they have been sent by the seller provided that there is no reason to suggest otherwise.

If a buyer does not accept the goods within a reasonable amount of time, they are liable to the seller for any loss that they incur as a result of this. Sometimes a seller may include terms that obliges the buyer to accept the items within a certain timeframe. The buyer should make sure that they comply with these conditions. Seek free legal advice

Delivery

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 states that the buyer has a duty to pay the price stated in the terms and conditions outlined in the contract. In the majority of cases prices are fixed in the contract when the sale is agreed. If the price isn’t in the contract, the Act states that the price must be reasonable and due for payment in cash at the buyer’s property upon delivery.

If a price isn’t fixed in a contract, the full amount will need to be paid upon delivery. Failure to pay would breach the contract. The buyer would be able to pursue the seller for any loss as a direct result of the breach. Seek free legal advice

Reservation Clauses and Buyer Rights

A reservation clause may appear in certain contracts for the sale of goods.This clause is something stating the seller retains the right and title to the goods until payment is received in full. The seller retains ownership of the goods until the buyer has paid for them. The seller can enforce these regulations usually if the buyer is insolvent. Seek free legal advice

Exclusion Clauses and Buyers Rights

As well as reservation clauses in contracts, there are also exclusion clauses. These are incorporated by the seller. These clauses are there to reduce or eliminate liability for any loss as a result of their actions. For example, an exclusion clause could limit damages if the seller defaults perhaps by not providing the goods. Seek free legal advice

If an exclusion clause is in place, it should be evaluated carefully, and ideally by a legal professional

Where included in a contract, they must be reasonable for the consumer. In the majority of cases, a contract for the sale of goods is fair on all parties. They are issued and fulfilled with no problems. But if you do encounter issues either as a buyer or seller, it is important that you find out what your rights are, particularly if one party has breached the contract in some way.

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