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Consumer protection through Statute Law

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Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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2 February 2011

Statutory provisions have been put in place to protect consumers in their day to day dealings with sellers. We look at the main provisions in turn.

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 (SOGA)

The sale and purchase of goods carried out between two parties is probably the most common type of contract entered into everyday. SOGA governs the terms upon which the parties contract to and implies those terms which the parties have not considered. It protects both the consumer and the seller (who has the right to retain the goods for example, if the purchaser defaults on a payment or becomes insolvent.) Therefore, the SOGA gives both parties a degree of certainty and security.

Sections 12 -15 are implied into contracts and the seller is obliged to adhere to these rules. These conditions allow the injured party to the contract to reject the goods within a reasonable time if the conditions are breached. If the goods are not rejected within reasonable time then the conditions are held as warranties and the injured party is able to seek damages.

The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (SGSA)

The supplying of goods and services is governed by the 1982 Act. It gives consumers protection if they have been supplied with faulty goods or been offered a service which has been carried out without reasonable care and skill.

The significance of SGSA is that it imposes conditions that require 'reasonableness'. It obligates the seller, when acting in the course of a business to, carry out that service with reasonable care and skill; within a reasonable time and to charge a reasonable amount for the service.

The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (UCTA)

UCTA sets out the provisions determining how reasonable a clause is that has been interpreted into a contract. UCTA does not apply to every type of contract. The types of contracts UCTA does not apply to are set out in Schedule 1, for an example, insurance contracts.

UCTA does not allow parties to rely on a clause which seeks to exclude liability for death or personal injury; however, it does allow parties to exclude liability for loss arising out of negligence, as long as the test of reasonableness is satisfied.

The courts generally consider that a business is more powerful therefore it is in a better position to protect itself then a consumer is. The party relying on the clause will have to satisfy that the clause incorporated into the contract is a reasonable one and there are tests put into place to determine this under Schedule 2 of UCTA. And had also been demonstrated through case law; see George v Finney Lock Seeds.

This is just a brief summary of the protection available to consumers. If you have any concerns of your own then it advisable to seek legal advice.

Aneela Akbar is a legal assistant to Izaz Ali (izaz.ali@lawdit.co.uk). Izaz is a commercial solicitor who specialises in information technology law and intellectual property law with an emphasis on IT, escrow, online and off-line contracts and the buying and selling of online businesses.


About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-03-19 01:00:48 in Legal Articles

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