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Sale of goods act 1979

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    A sale of goods contract refers to an agreement in which the seller or a trader transfers or agrees to transfer property that are goods to the buyer for a money consideration best known as price. Both the seller and the buyer have obligations to one another. The seller’s obligation under the contract must be that he or she agrees to transfer the property to the buyer whereas the buyer’s obligation under the contract is to pay a money consideration, as described by s2 (1) of the Sale of Goods Act 19791

    In regards to the s14 of The Sale of Goods Act 19792, the rule of caveat emptor is of great relevance, the buyer must be aware since the vendor does not have to be held liable for the faults in goods sold if the buyer had made a look out to satisfy himself or herself of the goods worthiness. There it is the responsibility of the parties in contract to constitute their own bargain

    However the section does not imply any warranty or condition as to the quality or fitness for any particular purpose of goods supplied under a contract of sale, unless a warranty or condition is appended by the usage of trade as referred by s14(3).

    The case of Rogers v Parish (Scarborough) ltd [1987] 1 QB 9333 furthered the point of Merchantable quality and satisfactory quality under s14 of SOGA 1979 in the fact that the plaintiff’s purpose of buying a car was not merely for the purpose of driving it from one place to another but of doing so with the appropriate degree of comfort, ease of handling, reliability and pride in the vehicle’s outward and interior appearance as applied by Lord Mustill

    The defendants advertised a new Range Rover which is above the level of an ordinary family car at the price of �16,000. s13 of the Sale of Goods Act4 stresses sale by description as in the case of Varley v Whipp [1900] 1 QB 5135 whereby incase of a sale of goods by description there is an implied condition that the goods ought to correspond with the description. The “sale of goods by description” covers all cases in which the buyer has not seen the goods but is relying on the vendor’s description.Hence, the plaintiff in the Roger’s case depended upon the defendant’s skilful knowledge, although the defendants could not be held liable for breach of s13 since the description of the car was fit, the question came to its quality. The principle that goods can describe themselves was affirmed in the case of Beale v Taylor [1967] 1 WLR 1193.6

    The Sale and Supply OF Goods Act 1994 amended s14 of the SOGA 1979 where the fact of merchantable quality was replaced with satisfactory quality, thus giving the consumer improved rights in the sense that merchantable quality referred to any goods that can be displayed but not necessarily satisfactory to a consumer.

    In the case at hand the amendment made by the Sale and Supply Of Goods Act 1994 cannot be put into much consideration since the Rogers case was in 1981,thus the law to be applied should be from the Sale Of Goods Act 1979 where s14(2) imposes that where a trader sells goods in the course of business as affirmed in the case of Stevenson v Rogers(1999)3 WLR 1637.It is an implied condition that the goods supplied under the contract are of merchantable quality although such a condition will not apply if the goods have defects drawn to the buyers attention prior to the making of the contract8.However ,if the buyer is aware that the principal is not of selling goods in the course of business or if the reasonable steps have been taken to bring this to the buyer’s attention, then neither the term as to satisfactory quality nor as to fitness for the buyer’s purpose will be implied.

    After it was found that s14 (2) of the Sale of Goods Act in the Stevenson’s case did not give rise to an implied term that Jelle was not of merchantable quality, the term “in the course of business” was to be broadly interpreted as a result the parliament intended to rectify s14 (2) in relation to s14 (2) of the Sale Of Goods Act 1893 which had minimal effect and inadequate to be imposed on every business seller whether or not confirmed dealing in goods of such type, the implied condition of merchantable quality.

    Lord Ellenborough stated in an early case of Gardiner v Gray (1815)4 camp 144 that if goods are unfit for their only proper use then they wont be rendered as merchantable, even when it is possible to make them merchantable by repairs since the defects cannot be legally rectified by the seller9. When one pays a dear sum of money for goods, it is of an expectation that they are durable and fit for a particular purpose.Thus,making it irrelevant for the buyer to express his purpose of the good as a statement to the seller, as it was affirmed in the case of Baldry v Marshall [1925]1 KB 26010 where the buyer claimed to reject an 8 cylinder Buggati because it was not as fit as stipulated for the purpose though during the transaction he specified his purpose was to get a fast,flexible,comfortable and easily managed for normal touring reasons. Had this case happened after the 1994 amendment, what judgement would have come to it?

    In several occasions consumers are vulnerable to misrepresentation and it is not always easy to bring about a civil liability due to the parol evidence rule that makes it inevitable for consumers to sue based on oral misrepresentation. The 1979 Act provides a wide range of important remedies for consumers incase of a breach of an implied condition.

    Retailers as well are prone to incur a civil liability and a criminal liability under the Trade Description Act 1968,when they misrepresent the quality of a product whether orally or written, giving the consumer a right to claim for damages or rescind the contract above that an oral statement constitute an actionable misrepresentation when it misleads a written representation. Such a situation was exemplified in Curtis v Chemical Cleaning and Dyeing Co Ltd[1951]1 KB 80511 when a store assistant accepted a dress from a consumer for cleaning but innocently misrepresented that the exemption clause on the receipt included covering for beads and sequins although it included all materials damage.

    s.14(2) of the Sale Of Goods Act 1979 tend to protect the seller where the defects of the goods complained of had been specifically drawn to the buyers attention before the contract was sealed SOGA s.14(2c)(a).It is the responsibility of the seller to be specific when drawing the defects of the good to the buyers attention, the mere fact of mentioning that the goods have defects is not sufficient, as it was demonstrated in the case of Bartlett v Sidney Marcus [1965] 2 All ER 75312,where Lord Denning of the court of Appeal held that the implied conditions under s14(1) and (2) of the Sale Of Goods Act 1893 that the car was fit reasonably to be driven along the road and that it was of merchantable quality were applicable although there was no evidence whatsoever to support the findings of the County Court Judge that there were vivid breaches of the implied condition.Hence,the buyer failed to claim damages under s.14(2).

    With regards to s.14 and its ss.14 (6) and (2) of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 in relation to the Rogers case, it was reasonable for CA to raise two questions in regards to whether the defendants were in breach of an expressed promise that described the car as new or whether they were in breach of an implied promise that the car would be in a merchantable condition. This was of result after it had already been indicated as an express promise by the second defendants, however, in the event both the plaintiffs and the defendants were content to treat the case as if it were governed by the provisions relating to the implied terms created by s.14 of the Sale Of Goods Act 1979, specifically by the definition of the words merchantable quality as found in s.14 (6) of the Act.

    It is of convenience that the argument of the goods being unmerchantable at the time of delivery and that the plaintiffs were of entitlement to discard as useless to them, since 1893 the implied term of merchantable quality has been governed by the statute of Sale Of Goods Act. However the 1893 Act was subjected to essential modification by the Supply of Goods (implied terms) Act 1973 regarding changes in the wording of s.14 (2) and an addition of the new definition of merchantable quality, as they were re-enacted by minor alteration regarding the definition in s.14 of the 1979 Act.

    Counsel for the seller in the Rogers case raised a point that the car was not regarded as unmerchantable with the defects which the buyer was entitled to have the repaired free of charge under the manufacturer’s warranty. Lord Mustill was unimpressed with the comment and he was of the opinion that,

    “Can it be right to say that the reasonable buyer would expect less of his brand new Range Rover with a warranty that in absence of one? Surely the warranty is an addition to the buyer’s rights and not a subtraction from them; nevertheless it may be noted as an encircled addition since it lasts for only a limited duration and does not compensate the buyer for any consequential loss and inconvenience”13

    In the light of this conclusion, one should mention that the defendants ought to strive in debate on the argument of the appeal that even if there had been a breach of s.14 the plaintiff by his conduct had excluded him from rejecting the car. This fact was not pleaded by either the defendant nor was it pointed out in the judgement or was it mentioned by the defendant’s respondents.

    As of March 31st 2003, the buyer may require the seller to repair the goods or to replace the goods within a reasonable time but without causing any inconveniences to the buyer as well as bearing the necessary costs incurred in doing so such as postage, labour or material. This principle is enabled by the new law of the Sale of Goods Act Part 5A s.48A-C as a result of the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulation 2002, SI 3045.

    Regulation 5 introduces a new part 5A into the 1979 Sale of Goods Act in order to give an impact to the new rights for the consumers as set out in article 3 of the Directives. The Regulation make amendments to the current legislation that exists on the sale and supply of goods and unfair terms so as to provide extra remedies to consumers in various circumstances, above that the regulations also provide provisions on the legal status of warranties offered to consumers and place an obligation on guarantors in relation to guarantees.

    Remedies on a breach of part 5A are available to a person who deals as a consumer when buying or when there is an existence of a consumer contract in which the buyer is the main consumer and that the goods are not in accordance with the contract of sale at the time of delivery14, whereas 48A (2) allows the sellers to request a reduction of the purchasing price or may reject the contract in regards to the goods in question.

    The Sale of Goods Act Part 5A s.48C (2) (a), when the seller is unable to repair or replace the good within an appropriate time when the goods are not fit for the purpose then the buyer may require for a refund of his money15 although, the question whether the consumer should regain the same amount that was used in purchasing or the fact that the good had been in use to the consumer for some duration of time affect the amount of refund. As of the Rogers case the purchased a new Range Rover which proved to be of unsatisfactory quality and then had it replaced by another new Range Rover which after using it for a period of six month and the reading of the mileage being 5000miles but since there were no specifications of duration in the warranty then it was still in reasonable time.

    In concluding to the matter of the Rogers case in relation to the provisions of ss.14 and 5A of the Sale of Goods Act 1979, the plaintiff is entitled to repudiate the contract since his expectations of purchasing a new Range Rover were not met since it was not just another family car but a car that is on top of the range.Hence, maximum comfortability, ease in handling and pride in the general outlook is of expectations.

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    Sale of goods act 1979. (2017, Nov 19). Retrieved from

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