Sale of Goods Act 1979 Explained

Sale of Goods Act 1979 Explained

MUST READ: This only applies for orders/items purchased prior to 1st October 2015. Anything purchased after this date now comes under a NEW LAW The Consumer Rights Act 2015

Under consumer law in the UK (Sale of Goods Act 1979), even after your initial warranty/guarantee has ended consumers are entitled to a free of charge repair or replacement, discount or refund by the seller, of defective goods or goods which do not conform with the contract of sale. For goods purchased in England or Wales, these rights expire six years from delivery of the goods and for goods purchased in Scotland, these rights expire five years from delivery of the goods.

OK this sounds great but what does it mean? Well basically you have to prove the following isn’t true:

  • The goods will match the description given of them.
  • The goods will be of satisfactory quality.
  • The goods will be reasonably fit for any particular purpose that was made known to the retailer (unless the retailer disputed their appropriateness for that purpose at the time)

Within the first 6 months of ownership the seller will generally agree/confirm the above isn’t true and offer a free replacement etc however AFTER the first 6 months of ownership “the burden to prove that the defect or non-conformity of goods with the contract existed on delivery generally shifts to the consumer”.

So if you believe that the product was used as intended but now has a fault and it’s less than 6 years from the delivery date you could have a claim for a repair > replacement > refund (in that order). A company can offer to repair or replace, if the fault continues to exist or returns again then they have to offer a full refund.

Have you got an example letter I should send?

First of all it may be quicker to pick up the phone, book an appointment in store and just explain that you have statutory rights and those rights cover you up to 6 years from the date of delivery.

If that doesn’t work then use this letter template and send the retailer you purchased the device from this letter:

[Your address]
[Company/ supplier address]
[Reference: contract/order number]
On [date] I [bought/placed an order for] a [device], received it on [date]. I have discovered that the [device] has the following problem: [add details].
The Sale of Goods Act 1979 makes it an implied term of the contract that goods be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality.
As you are in breach of contract I am rejecting the [device] and request that you refund the sum paid to you of [price].
I also require you to confirm whether you will arrange for the [device] to be collected or will reimburse me for the cost of returning it.
If I do not receive your satisfactory proposals for settlement of my claim within seven days of the date of this letter, I intend to issue a claim against you in the county court without further reference to you.
Yours faithfully,
[Your name here]


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