FRIDAY, JUNE 22: Over the years, common law has developed implied terms, which give consumers certain rights against those who supply goods and services.
These terms are said to be implied because they apply as part of a contract, which comes into existence whenever goods and services are supplied. Traders, sellers and consumers need to know how the law affects you.
Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding the Sale of Goods Act 1978 (as amended) 2002.
What is the purpose of the Sale of Goods Act 1978?
The overall purpose of the Sale of Goods Act 1978 is laid out in reasonably clear terms how a trader/seller conducts business with consumers in a way that is fair and equitable to both parties.
What is an “invite to treat”?
Basically a trader makes an offer of goods for a price, inviting consumers to accept that offer for those particular goods. The offer and acceptance is complete when the money has been exchanged for possession of the goods. The important point to remember is that even though the product has a price on it the price is only an offer thus if the product is marked incorrectly the trader does not have to sell that item to you at the marked price .
What are the rights of consumers when acquiring goods?
The law provides that anytime a consumer, (buyer) purchases goods from a seller, these goods “shall correspond with the description”, “be of satisfactory quality” and be “reasonably fit for the purpose”.
What does “correspond with description” mean?
Nearly every transaction involves a description of some kind, even when a consumer accepts goods without assistance, as in a self-service store. There is usually some kind of a description on the label or packaging.
Thus when someone buys the goods and they rely on the description given to them, then the goods must be as described. For example, if a car dealer describes the car as a 1999, 1600cc model, then the car must be of that year and engine capacity.
What is “of satisfactory quality”?
To be of satisfactory quality, goods must be of a standard and quality that a reasonable person would regard as. For instance, someone buying milk would not clearly expect for it to be off if the sell-by date has not yet expired.
On the other hand, someone buying an appliance in a scratch and dent sale should not expect the appliance to be without dents, although he could expect it to work.
What characteristics are considered aspects of quality?
Aspects of quality can include fitness for the purpose for which the goods are supplied, appearance, finish, safety, durability and free from major defects.
What happens if the goods do not “correspond with the description”, are not of “satisfactory quality” and are not “reasonably fit for the purpose”?
If the goods do not correspond with the above, then there is a breach of an implied condition and the consumer can reject the goods (unless he has lost the right). Usually it means the consumer is entitled to his money back. He need not accept a store credit. He is entitled to a refund and/or compensation for any losses or expenses that he has incurred.
For more information visit our web-site www.ca.gov.bm.
Honey Adams is the education officer for Consumer Affairs.