Sales act gives consumers added beef

CONSUMERS are about to get much greater scope for complaining - but not until after Christmas.

On 4 January 1995, the Sale and Supply of Goods Act becomes law. It will give buyers greater opportunities to reject goods they are unhappy with. The definition in the present Sale of Goods Act (1979), which refers to goods being of "merchantable quality" will be replaced with a new test of "satisfactory quality".

This means consumers will be able to reject goods which, although technically fit for the purpose, are not of a standard that a reasonable person would consider satisfactory.

The present law does not give consumers the right to reject the goods, merely the opportunity to claim damages for the difference between the value of the goods in their damaged and undamaged state.

This interpretation stems from a 1984 court case in which it was held that a man who had bought a car which broke down after 27 days was deemed to have accepted it, despite having driven only 140 miles. The court rejected his claim that he had the right to a full refund .

The new Act also gives consumers longer to inspect goods before they can be deemed to have accepted them. And consumers who order goods to be delivered which have not previously been inspected - such as mail-order goods - cannot be held to have accepted them until they have had a reasonable time to inspect them. A similiar right already exists in the Sale of Goods Act 1979, but its right to inspect does not apply where consumers have "intimated" acceptance or have waived the right.

The new Act provides that consumers cannot be deemed to have intimated acceptance until they have had reasonable opportunity to inspect the goods.

In addition, buyers will have the right to keep those goods they are happy with while rejecting those that are faulty. The Sale of Goods Act (1979) only allows a partial rejection of goods if the contract is severable - usually only when goods are delivered and paid for by instalments.

Meriel Thorne, the parliamentary officer with the Consumers Association, said: "The Consumer Association welcomes the Act. lt has recommended reform for over 15 years. "

Stephen Sidkin, a commercial law partner with City Law Fox Williams, agrees: "The Act undoubtedly strengthens the rights of all buyers, whether consumers or trade. Because of the lack of publicity given to the introduction of this legislation by the Department of Trade and Industry, the only problem is that sellers may seek to deny the existence of these new rights for buyers."

Further strengthening of consumer rights is promised by the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, which are due to come into force on 1 January 1995. After that date, any term in a set of standard conditions which is "unfair" will be unenforceable. The regulations contain guidance as to what may be considered unfair.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

    £30 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst with experienc...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Ashdown Group: Sales Team Leader - Wakefield, West Yorkshire

    £21000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged b...

    Ashdown Group: Head of Client Services - City of London, Old Street

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders