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Home: Consumer Law :

Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended By The Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002)

Under the Act you are entitled to expect that any goods you buy from a trader are entitled to be:

  • of satisfactory quality,
  • fit for any particular purpose made known to the seller; and
  • as described.

Satisfactory quality means that the goods would meet the standard a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory taking into account the description of the goods, the price (if relevant) and all other relevant circumstances. The quality of the goods includes their state and condition including their appearance and finish, freedom from minor defects, safety and durability. They should also be fit for all purposes for which goods of that kind are commonly supplied. Your rights under this Act are against the person who sold you the goods and not the manufacturer. You have no real grounds for a complaint if you:

  • were told about the fault before you purchased the item;
  • examined the item when you bought it and should have seen the fault;
  • made a mistake when purchasing the item;
  • simply changed your mind about the item.


Since 31 March 2003 you have more rights under the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002. If a product that was faulty at the time of sale is returned to the retailer, you are legally entitled to:

  • a full refund– If you have a complaint about something you bought you should tell the seller as soon as possible. This is because if you are considered to have ‘accepted’ goods you can lose the right to a full refund. One way to ‘accept’ goods is to keep them beyond a reasonable time without rejecting them; or
  • a reasonable amount of compensation (or “damages”) – If you have bought faulty goods and have ‘accepted’ them you may have to accept an offer to put the goods right or the cost of a repair. If the fault cannot be put right or the cost of putting it right is unreasonable you may be able to claim appropriate compensation but you would have to keep this claim to a reasonable minimum.
  • a repair or replacement – Under the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002, you have the right to ask for a repair or a replacement, providing that it does not cost more than you paid for the item. This then should be provided within a reasonable period of time.


Where goods are offered with a consumer guarantee, the consumer can request that the guarantee be made available in writing and that the terms of the guarantee should be set out in plain language which can be easily understood. This should be in English if offered in the United Kingdom and should give details of how to make a claim under the guarantee. A contract will also be made between you and the guarantor. This means that if the guarantor refuses to honour the guarantee you may be able to take legal action.

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