Law Sale Of Goods Act Essay, Research Paper
If the question arises regarding the rights of a consumer, we must seek to prove whether a retailer is liable. Quark´s TV Emporium Ltd is a retail business, which had advertised a new 28inch stereo television with teletext. Mr Sisko bought the television set for £300 but after a month it went wrong and Mr Sisko discovered it was a cheaper mono model. Mr Sisko wanted his money back but had signed a clause in the sales contract excluding liability under the Sale of Goods Act. The following points must be considered before we can establish Mr Sisko´s legal position. Under section 12 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 we can see that the Quark does have the right to sell the television in question. Section 13 ascertains that there is an implied condition that the goods will correspond with the description. Although Mr Sisko saw the TV in operation before he bought it, we can say that it was still bought by description as he was relying on the TV being a stereo model as described. Quark argues that as Mr Sisko should have realised that it was not a stereo model as he watched the set in the store. As Mr Sisko is just a consumer, he cannot be an expert in televisions and therefore it would be unfair to say that he should have known. We can see this in Beal v Taylor (1967) 3 ALL ER 253 where the plaintiff had inspected the car before he bought but later realised that it was an earlier model. The Court of Appeal held that the plaintiff was entitled to damages for breach of section 13 as he had relied on the description contained in the advertisement. Similar facts are found in the present situation and the goods have not corresponded to their description so Quark has breached section 13. To consider Mr Sisko´s legal position further we can also consult section 14, which deals with goods being of satisfactory quality and fit for a particular purpose. Sub section 2b looks at the quality of goods sold and durability. After only a month the TV stopped working and there is a possibility of breach of contract. This is difficult to ascertain because if Mr Sisko used the TV 1 hour a day than the £300 TV is not durable but if it was kept on constantly for the month than a reasonable person could consider this to wear the TV down. Sub section 2c states that even though Mr Sisko examined the TV, there were no obvious defects to be discovered. As we know Mr Sisko had signed an exclusion clause, as this was incorporated in the contract and signed, Mr Sisko is bound by it. This can be seen in L´Esrange v Graucob (1934) 2 KB 583 where the defendant relied on an exemption clause which excluded their liability. The plaintiff was bound by all the terms of the agreement because she signed it. In the same way, even if Mr Sisko did not read the exclusion clause, would still be bound by it. In order to assess whether the exclusion clause is valid we can consult the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977. This stipulates that the implied terms as to description, quality, etc. as contained in section 13-15 in the Sale of Goods Act 1979 cannot be excluded by any contract term against a person dealing as a consumer. As Quark is in the course of a retail business and the TV was sold from the premises used for the purpose of business we can consider this to be a business contract. The exemption clause in the contract will have to be subject to a ‘reasonableness test´. Although the application of a ‘reasonableness test´ is a matter for the court to decide, we can look at the guidelines stated. Quark would have to show that his exclusion clause is reasonable because of its ambiguous nature, even though it was included in the signed contract. A court would frown upon an exemption clause excluding liability under the entire Sales of Goods Act. Also we can see that although there may be many alternative suppliers, Mr Sisko did have very little bargaining power with the contract in question. Furthermore, Mr Sisko did not receive an inducement to agree to the term. An example of this can be seen in the case of Woodman v Photo Trade Processing Ltd (Unreported County Court Case 1981) where the exclusion clause restricted liability to the replacement of the film. This case indicates that: ‘… failure to provide customers with an alternative is likely to lead any exemption clause being declared unreasonable.´ As any real choice was not offered to Mr Sisko, Quark would not be able to show that the exemption clause was reasonable. Finally we can look at section 8 of the Unfair Contract Terms Act, which provides that any clause which excludes liability for misrepresentation is ineffective if the test for reasonableness is not satisfied. To conclude, we have Mr Sisko who bought a TV from Quark´s TV Emporium Ltd. It was advertised as a stereo model but broke after 1 month and turned out to be a mono model. Most retailers would be happy to take back faulty goods within a short period of time and you would expect a TV to work for more than a month. But this is hearsay and Quark would not be liable for the TV set going wrong. Most manufacturers express confidence in their products by incorporating a guarantee or warranty, which is an expected feature on consumer durables. As there is no mention of this, neither the retailer nor the manufacturer could be held responsible for the TV set going wrong. We must also look at Mr Sisko´s legal position regarding the TV not being a stereo model. In the case of Brown v Craiks (1970) 1 ALL ER 823 no damages were awarded as although the cloth was more expensive, it can still be used for the purpose stated. This relates to the question in hand where the more you pay, the better quality you expect. Mr Sisko paid £300, which is the correct price for a 28inch stereo TV, it is stated that a mono model would be cheaper. Clearly Mr Sisko has not received the quality that he had paid for. The exclusion clause used by Quark would not pass the reasonableness test and therefore would become invalid. Therefore Quark´s TV Emporium Ltd could be held liable under breach of section 13 of the Sale of Goods Act 1977 and entitled to damages.