The Law Relating to the Remedies for Defective Goods

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LAW Coursework Essay April 2012

Q: Evaluate whether the law relating to the remedies for defective goods can be considered satisfactory.

In this essay I will outline the remedies available in cases of defective goods from the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the criteria that constitutes a material breach. I will then go on to outline the other remedies available in supply of goods cases such as hire purchase and hire etc., using the Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. After discussing all the remedies available, I will then evaluate the adequacy of the law relating to these remedies through case examples and decide whether this law can be considered satisfactory.

The remedies that a consumer can have, in Scotland, for defective good are outlined in section 15B of the Sale of Goods Act 1979. This section states that if the seller is in breach of the contract of sale then the buyer’s remedies will be an entitlement “to claim damages and if the breach is material, to reject any goods delivered under the contract and treat it as repudiated.” This means that the buyer can claim compensation for any damage or loss that may have been incurred by the breach of the seller. Also, if the breach is material, meaning there was an express breach of the contract or any implied breach breach under ss. 13 – 14 of the act, then the goods can be rejected and the contract can be repudiated, meaning there is a denial of the existence of any contract the consumer will not perform their previous contractual obligation. S.15B (2) also says that when ‘a contract of sale is a consumer contract’ then any term breached, express or implied, will be seen as material. As long as the express or implied term that has been breached relates to the fitness for purpose or the quality of goods, the goods consistency with their description and if a sample has been given, the goods consistency with the quality of that sample. Section 13 – 14 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 outline the implied terms that cause the breach of the contract to be material. Section 13 outlines ‘Sale by Description’ , which means goods will correspond with their description. Section 14 outlines ‘implied terms about quality or fitness’, which says ‘Except as provided by this section and section 15 below … there is no implied about the quality or fitness for any particular purpose of goods supplied under a contract of sale.’ but in if goods are sold ‘in the course of a business’ then there is an implied term that goods have to be of ‘satisfactory quality’. If any of these implied terms are breached then there is a material breach.

There are also further remedies in S.48 and S.35 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 as long as there has still been a breach of an express or implied term and the breach occurs on the date of delivery. These further remedies include ‘repair or replacement of the goods’, ‘reduction of purchase price or rescission of contract’ and ‘right of partial rejection’. S.48B says that a special remedy for the buyer can be requesting a repair or replacement from the seller if there is a breach of the contract, the seller must replace or repair in a reasonable time period, not inconveniencing the buyer and any costs involved must be covered by the seller. The buyer cannot require a replacement or repair if it is impossible or if it is more costly or inconvenient than another remedy. S.48C says that the buyer can ‘require the seller to reduce the purchase price of the goods in question to the buyer by an appropriate amount, or rescind the contract with regard to those goods’ only if the previous remedies are unavailable. So, the buyer can receive an appropriate discount on their purchase price or if they rescind the contract and receive reimbursement for the goods, although the court may reduce this amount to account for use of the goods...
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