GCSE Law - Consumer Rights and Responsibilities - Chapter 17

Notes on Chapter 17 of Unit 4 of 'OCR Law for GCSE'.

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17.1. The nature of consumer contracts
Consumers have many legal protections when they buy goods or services;
A consumer purchase is where:
The person buying the goods is doing so as a consumer (because they have unequal
strength with the business, whereas inter-business purchases are of equal strength
and thus they are able to negotiate, but consumers are not and therefore have
different protection);
The person selling the goods is doing so in the course of a business;
The goods or service are a type that are sold in a consumer contract (i.e. if a
consumer buys industrial quantities of something usually bought in the course of a
business, they may have less protection).
Consumers have rights and protections which help to stop them being taken advantage of by
unscrupulous businesses;
Goods can be anything ­ they are covered usually in the Sale of Goods Act 1979;
Services could be anything ­ they are covered in the Sale of Goods and Services Act 1982;
A service may involve a sale of goods ­ for this reason, similar terms are in the SOGASA as the
The law protects consumers by inserting implied terms into consumer contracts.
17.2.1. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 implied terms
When a consumer buys goods from somebody selling in the course of a business, this is a
consumer contract and the Sale of Goods Act 1979 terms apply;
The act states that the goods bought must satisfy three requirements:
The goods must correspond with any description given to them by the seller (s 13);
The goods must be of satisfactory quality (s 14(2)) ­ they must be free from defects
and be durable;
The goods must be fit for the purpose for which they are bought (s 14(3)) ­ a buyer
is entitled to rely on the skill and judgement of the seller;
These implied terms are also conditions ­ i.e. if the seller breaks them, then the buyer is entitled to
compensation and can return the goods and get a refund.
17.2.2. The requirement that the goods fit any description given to them by the seller
This term applies to inter-business purchases as well as to consumer purchases;
If goods are not as described, this is a breach and a remedy can be found;
o Arcos Ltd v Ronaasen & Son (1933) ­ A consumer, having received goods which did not
match their description, successfully sued and rejected the goods as, although they were fit
for the purpose, the consumer had the right to expect them to match their description and
in this case they did not, thus breaching the term.
This rule can also apply to things like packaging:

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Re Moore & Landauer & Co's Arbitration (1921) ­ a consumer rejected the goods given that
they did not match their description because they came in lower quantities per crate
although they totalled the correct amount.
Sometimes, even though no description has been given by the seller, judges say that certain things
describe themselves:
o Grant v Australian Knitting Mills (1936) ­ A consumer's newly-purchased underpants gave
him a skin disease due to a chemical.…read more

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Baldry v Marshall (1925) ­ A seller sold goods which did not conform to the buyer's
expressed requirements and thus the buyer received compensation as he should have been
entitled to rely on the seller's professional opinion;
The purposes for which the goods are being bought can also be implied rather than expressed, i.e. it
should sometimes be obvious.…read more

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The requirement that, where no price is agreed in advance, the purchaser only has to pay a
reasonable price for the service
The courts are unwilling to interfere with mutually agreed prices, however drastic, i.e.…read more


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