What is the Sale of Goods Act?


The Sale of Goods Act 1979 remains one of the most important legal devices for consumer rights in the UK today. Despite being over 30 years old, the provisions of the Sale of Goods Act are still used daily by hundreds of thousands of consumers who have bought products in shops and online throughout the UK.
If you are in dispute with a retailer under a Sale of Goods Act provision, you might need a professional to help you rectify the situation.

The provisions of the Act

The Act mainly focuses on the provision of three rights, known as statutory rights. These effectively force retailers, whether in store or online, to sell goods which match certain key standards:The first is that goods sold must match their item descriptions

  • The second is that the products sold must be fit for purpose
  • Finally, the Act states that any goods sold must be of a satisfactory quality

  If a product that is bought fails any of these three standards, then as a consumer you are entitled to return the item to the retailer and demand a full refund. The only limit on this right is that the product must be returned in reasonable time.

What counts as reasonable will vary from product to product. So whilst you might have several months to return a television, you might only have a few days to return an item of fresh produce.

Do the provisions cover online shopping?

The provisions of the Act also apply to online transactions, although online customers also enjoy the additional protection of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002. These provide online customers with additional rights in respect of a few key areas:Cancellation

  • Information
  • Faulty goods and refunds

 The provisions essentially lay out information which the online retailer should provide before selling you a product. A seven-day cooling off period in which you can claim a refund is enforced and a full refund must be made available if goods are not delivered within a certain time period.

Consumer rights

If a seller does not meet their obligations under the Sale of Goods Act, as briefly described above, then if the consumer brings it to their attention and seeks redress, the business is under a legal obligation to resolve the issue.
The Sale of Goods Act sets out rights of customers to return faulty goods and to ask for a repair, refund or replacement.

A consumer solicitor can explain your rights under this and other legislation. There are various other regulations in the area of consumer protection. A consumer solicitor can advise you on your legal position in particular circumstances. A consumer solicitor may also be able to take legal action on your behalf.

If you would like more particular information on refunds and replacements, click the link.
Having a dispute under the Sale of Goods Act? Caven can put you in touch with a specialist consumer solicitor to help you resolve the issue amicably and in the most cost-effective way possible. Please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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