Sale of goods act 1979

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The Sale of Goods Act 19791 establishes that in a contract for the sale of goods, the seller or trader agrees to transfer goods to the buyer in exchange for a price. Both parties have responsibilities: the seller agrees to transfer ownership, and the buyer agrees to pay the specified price.

Section 14 of The Sale of Goods Act 19792 highlights the importance of caveat emptor, which places responsibility on the buyer to exercise caution. Under this principle, the seller is not liable for any defects in the purchased goods if the buyer had inspected and approved their quality. Therefore, it is incumbent upon both parties to establish their own agreement.

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The section does not offer any assurance or declaration concerning the quality or appropriateness of goods in a sale agreement, unless there is a warranty or condition included through trade usage as stated in s14(3).

The case of Rogers v Parish (Scarborough) ltd [1987] 1 QB 9333 advanced the concept of merchantable quality and satisfactory quality under s14 of SOGA 1979. The case argued that the plaintiff’s intention in purchasing a car was not simply for transportation but for an enjoyable driving experience with comfort, ease of handling, reliability, and personal satisfaction in both the vehicle’s exterior and interior aesthetics. This interpretation was provided by Lord Mustill.

The defendants advertised a new Range Rover which is priced at �16,000, surpassing an ordinary family car. According to section 13 of the Sale of Goods Act4, when goods are sold by description, there is an implied condition that they should match the description, as seen in the case of Varley v Whipp [1900] 1 QB 5135. This applies when the buyer has not seen the goods but relies on the vendor’s description. Therefore, in the Roger’s case, the plaintiff relied on the defendant’s expertise. Although the defendants cannot be held liable for a breach of section 13 as the car’s description was accurate, the issue arises regarding its quality. The principle that goods can describe themselves was upheld in the case of Beale v Taylor [1967] 1 WLR 1193.6.

The Sale and Supply OF Goods Act 1994 made changes to section 14 of the SOGA 1979. It replaced the term “merchantable quality” with “satisfactory quality,” which resulted in improved consumer rights. Previously, merchantable quality referred to goods that could be displayed, but not necessarily satisfactory to consumers.

The significance of the amendment to the Sale and Supply Of Goods Act 1994 in this specific case should not be given much consideration because the Rogers case took place in 1981. Therefore, the applicable law should be derived from the Sale Of Goods Act 1979. Section 14(2) of this act states that when a trader sells goods as part of their business operations, as confirmed in Stevenson v Rogers (1999)3 WLR 1637, the contract must ensure that goods of merchantable quality are provided. However, if any defects in the goods were made known to the buyer before entering into the contract, this condition does not apply. Furthermore, if it is known to the buyer that the seller is not involved in selling goods as part of their business operations or reasonable efforts have been made to inform them about this situation, then neither the term regarding satisfactory quality nor fitness for buyer’s purpose will be implied.

The Stevenson’s case revealed that s14 (2) of the Sale of Goods Act did not provide an implied term that Jelle was of merchantable quality. Consequently, the term “in the course of business” was interpreted broadly to address the parliament’s intention of rectifying s14 (2) in relation to s14 (2) of the Sale of Goods Act 1893. The latter had negligible impact and was insufficient to be imposed on all business sellers, regardless of whether they dealt with goods of that kind, in terms of the implied condition of merchantable quality.

In an early case called Gardiner v Gray (1815)4 camp 144, Lord Ellenborough stated that if goods are not suitable for their intended use, they cannot be considered merchantable. Even if it is possible to make the goods merchantable through repairs, the defects cannot be legally fixed by the seller9. When someone pays a substantial amount of money for goods, they expect them to be durable and appropriate for a specific purpose. Therefore, it is irrelevant for the buyer to explicitly state their purpose to the seller, as affirmed in the case of Baldry v Marshall [1925]1 KB 26010. In this case, the buyer wanted to reject an 8 cylinder Buggati because it did not meet the specifications for their intended purpose, even though they had mentioned their purpose during the transaction as wanting a fast, flexible, comfortable, and easily-managed car for normal touring purposes. If this case had occurred after the 1994 amendment, what would have been the ruling?

In various circumstances, consumers may be at risk of deception, and it can be difficult to establish civil liability due to the parol evidence rule which prevents consumers from suing based on oral misrepresentation. The 1979 Act offers extensive remedies for consumers in the event of a violation of an implied condition.

Under the Trade Description Act 1968, retailers can be held legally responsible for both civil and criminal offenses if they provide false information about a product’s quality. This applies to both spoken and written statements. If retailers are found guilty of such offenses, consumers have the right to seek compensation or cancel their contract. It is important to note that even oral statements can be considered misleading and therefore misrepresentations. A case that exemplifies this is Curtis v Chemical Cleaning and Dyeing Co Ltd[1951]1 KB 80511, where a shop assistant falsely claimed that a dress could be covered for any damage, including beads and sequins, based on an exemption clause on the receipt. However, it was later revealed that the exemption clause actually covered all types of material damage.

Section 14(2) of the Sale Of Goods Act 1979 exists to safeguard sellers in instances where buyers were made aware of any defects in the goods before finalizing the contract (SOGA s.14(2c)(a)). It is the seller’s responsibility to explicitly notify buyers about any defects; simply stating that the goods have defects is insufficient. This was emphasized in Bartlett v Sidney Marcus [1965] 2 All ER 75312, where Lord Denning from the Court of Appeal ruled that the implied conditions outlined in sections 14(1) and (2) of the Sale Of Goods Act 1893, which pertain to the car being fit for driving and of merchantable quality, were applicable. Despite a lack of evidence supporting findings by the County Court Judge that there were clear breaches of these implied conditions, the buyer was unable to seek damages under section 14(2).

Regarding s.14 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and its ss.14 (6) and (2) in relation to the Rogers case, it was reasonable for CA to raise two questions: if the defendants breached the expressed promise that described the car as new, or if they breached the implied promise that the car would be in a merchantable condition. It had already been indicated as an express promise by the second defendants. However, both the plaintiffs and defendants were satisfied to handle the case as if it were governed by the provisions relating to implied terms created by s.14 of the Sale Of Goods Act 1979, specifically by the definition of merchantable quality as found in s.14 (6) of the Act.

Since 1893, it has been argued that the goods were not suitable for sale at the time of delivery and therefore could be discarded as useless. This argument was based on the implied term of merchantable quality, which was governed by the statute of Sale of Goods Act. However, in 1973, there was a significant modification to this act through the Supply of Goods (implied terms) Act. This modification included changes to section 14 (2) and a new definition of merchantable quality. These changes were then re-enacted with minor alterations in the definition in section 14 of the 1979 Act.

The seller’s counsel in the Rogers case contended that the car’s defects did not render it unmerchantable, thus asserting that the buyer had the right to get them fixed at no cost as per the manufacturer’s warranty. This argument failed to impress Lord Mustill, who held a different belief.

The question is whether it is fair to assume that the logical customer would have lower expectations for their brand new Range Rover with a warranty compared to one without. The warranty should enhance the buyer’s rights rather than diminish them, but it is worth mentioning that it is a limited addition as it only lasts for a certain period and does not provide compensation for any resulting damages or inconveniences.

Considering this conclusion, it should be noted that the defendants should argue in the appeal that even if there was a breach of s.14, the plaintiff’s conduct had excluded him from rejecting the car. It is important to mention that neither the defendant pleaded this fact, nor was it pointed out in the judgement or mentioned by the defendant’s respondents.

According to the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulation 2002, SI 3045, the buyer has the right to request the repair or replacement of goods from the seller within a reasonable time. The seller must fulfill this request without causing any inconvenience to the buyer and is responsible for any costs associated with the repair or replacement, such as postage, labor, or materials (Sale of Goods Act Part 5A s.48A-C, March 31st, 2003).

Regulation 5 of the 1979 Sale of Goods Act introduces a new part 5A to enforce the rights for consumers outlined in article 3 of the Directives. These amendments aim to enhance consumer remedies in different situations, including the sale and supply of goods and unfair terms. Additionally, the regulations address the legal status of warranties offered to consumers and impose obligations on guarantors regarding guarantees.

The person who deals as a consumer is entitled to remedies for a breach of part 5A. This applies when buying or if there is a consumer contract where the buyer is the main consumer and the goods do not comply with the sale contract at the time of delivery14. Additionally, sellers can choose to request a price reduction or reject the contract for the goods in question under 48A (2).

According to the Sale of Goods Act Part 5A s.48C (2) (a), if the seller cannot fix or replace the goods within a reasonable time and they are not suitable for their intended purpose, the buyer can ask for a refund of their money15. However, whether the consumer should receive the full purchase amount or a partial refund based on usage duration may affect the refund amount. In the Rogers case, an initial purchase of a new Range Rover was found to be unsatisfactory. It was then replaced with another new Range Rover that had been used for six months and had a mileage reading of 5000 miles. Since there was no specific timeframe mentioned in the warranty, this period of usage was still considered reasonable.

In summary, based on sections 14 and 5A of the Sale of Goods Act 1979, the plaintiff has the right to terminate the contract due to unmet expectations in their purchase of a new Range Rover. Their anticipation was for a high-end vehicle that would offer exceptional comfort, effortless maneuverability, and an overall feeling of satisfaction with its aesthetics.

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

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