Sale of Goods Act 1979

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 consolidates the law relating to the sale of goods. Wherever goods are bought they must "conform to contract".

This means they must be as described, fit for purpose and of 'satisfactory quality' (i.e. not inherently faulty at the time of sale).

Goods are of satisfactory quality if they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and any description. Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, it is the seller, not the manufacturer, who is responsible if goods do not conform to contract.

Customers can also return faulty goods to retailers ask for refunds.

No legal right to a refund, repair or replacement

Customers do not have a legal right to a refund, repair or replacement from you if they

  • accidentally damaged the item;
  • misused it and caused a fault;
  • tried to repair it themselves or had someone else try to repair it, which damaged the item;
  • if they knew it was faulty before they bought it;
  • if they decide they no longer want the item (for example it's the wrong size or colour, or does not suit them).

A few exceptions to this rule exist, including goods sold by mail order or over the Internet (see Distance Selling) - and some goods sold to a customer during a home visit.

Circumstances when customers do have a legal right to a refund, repair or replacement Customers do have a legal right to a refund, repair or replacement if an item they purchased:

  • does not match the description;
  • is not of 'satisfactory quality';
  • is not fit for purpose.

Each of these circumstances would mean that the item does not conform to contract and therefore it can be described as faulty.

Supervision and enforcement

Further information

Reference

Sale of Goods Act 1979

UK/1979/C/54