To Be or Not To Be Remains the Legal Question

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The Claimant had sought to reject a commercial van that he had been using for business purposes but alleged that he was a consumer.

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The outcome of a recent hearing where the Claimant, who alleged he was a consumer, was decided on the facts that our member was able to produce in court.

The Claimant had sought to reject a commercial van that he had been using for business purposes but alleged that he was a consumer because the sales invoice was in his personal name and on occasions, he had used the van for school runs, and therefore, was entitled to rely on the provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 for the costs of repairs to the van.

Our member’s legal representative was able to argue that by definition, a consumer can only be someone acting for purposes that are wholly or mainly outside their trade, business, craft, or profession.

One must always bear in mind that the relevant provision of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 requires a dealer when claiming that an individual was not acting as a consumer, to prove it.

On this basis, when challenged on this point, it was also argued that despite the Claimant’s assertions about the sales invoice, there was ample online evidence demonstrating that his purposes, as far as the van was concerned, were not wholly or mainly outside his trade and the supporting evidence was duly presented to the judge.

The Claimant could not explain away the evidence presented and was forced to concede this point whilst arguing additional matters irrelevant to the proceedings.

After first establishing that the vehicle was a commercial van that was sold for the purposes of the claimant’s trade, that it was some six (6) years old with more than 80,000 miles on the clock, and the presence of a warranty was irrelevant to the application of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the judge agreed none of the remedies sought by the Claimant could be applicable here since none were provided under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 which applied instead of the 2015 Act.

It was pointed out that the Claimant had been warned severally of this position pre-issue but insisted that he had received adequate advice that confirmed our member’s position was wrong.

Thereafter, the judge agreed the appropriate order was to strike out the claim. It would then be for the Claimant to apply to reinstate his claim or submit a new one if so required, although such an application would need to be made without undue delay.

In addition, the judge awarded our member the costs of the hearing, pursuant to CPR 27.14(2)(g), on the basis that the Claimant’s conduct of the matter during the hearing was “unreasonable” and warranted some stern advice about the risk of litigation where prospects of success were low.


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Motor traders must always remember to clearly distinguish between a commercial vehicle sale and a consumer sale, as the burden of proof lies with them in the event things go wrong and allegations centre around the claimant being a consumer or not.

Olabode AdekeyeLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

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