Consumer protection through Statute Law
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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
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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