Legal Article - Business Law

What Happens if the Seller falls foul of the Implied Terms?

The answer is – it all depends! If we are talking about a misdescription, a lack of quality or fitness then if the problem is complained of sufficiently early the customer can reject the goods and get their money back.

But what is “sufficiently early”. We need to look at case law again. It was held that for a new car 3 weeks was adequate time to check out a car and after that time the customer did not have the right to reject.

The car was not of satisfactory quality but as the garage had repaired the car then that was the lion’s share of any claim that could have been made. There may be an additional claim for inconvenience etc but little more.

There are other situations where the customer could be deemed to have accepted the car. This could be connected with any act, which suggests ownership has transferred from seller to buyer such as adapting the car in some way.

Simply because the customer has agreed to a repair does not by itself take away the right of rejection.

The Courts have tended to allow a longer period to reject when goods have been supplied on finance compared with straight cash sales.

If the customer has lost the right to reject the goods they are entitled to claim compensation. So if the car breaks down they are entitled to claim the cost of having it repaired BUT they are obliged to keep their expenditure to a minimum.

If the seller offers to repair then that is the least cost route and the customer cannot claim for the cost of repair elsewhere, unless there is some very good reason why that is the preferred option.

The customer is also entitled to claim for other reasonable loss and damage. So if they are put to the expense of taxis, loss of earning etc and this is directly related to the problem then they can claim.

Published: 10 Mar 2011

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