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My partner is a wedding photographer and she ordered some branded USB drives (credit card style) from a reputable printing company.

I say reputable because they are one of the main players in the UK, and she has used them to print wedding albums before, which have always been of reasonable quality.

However, the quality of the USB drives is shocking. The 'print' is ok, but the base product is terrible. They look really cheap, the material has a poor finish and there is a small gap where the USB section swivels around. Also the USB section doesn't fit snugly into the rest of the card when closed, which means the printed image is not lined up correctly.

We would like a refund if possible. A replacement would be satisfactory if the quality were right, but I suspect this is the standard base product that they use and that any replacement would have the same defects.

The goods were ordered over the internet (which would normally allow a return period after inspection). But I have read that normal consumer rights are not applicable when ordering 'customised' goods. However, the Sale of Goods Act does state that the quality of goods sold must be satisfactory.

I would appreciate any advice, but my specific question is:

What consumer rights do we have (UK) in regard to customised goods where the quality is inadequate?

  • 1
    Is a wedding photographer a consumer? – gnasher729 Jul 25 '18 at 18:53
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    Where is the printing company located, was there a representation of a level of quality, and how did she pay for them? – davidgo Jul 25 '18 at 20:38
  • Company is UK. Paid for by debit card unfortunately. I guess it's b2b really (prices are shown pre-vat which I think indicates this). I had presumed consumer rights would apply to a business purchasing a product too. Am I wrong? – Martin Hansen Lennox Jul 26 '18 at 13:45
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So I cobbled together an answer (ish) from various sources.

It would seem that we might be able to proceed by demonstrating that the items:

  • Don't correspond with the seller's description (e.g. the photo on the website makes the products appear better quality than they are)
  • Are not of satisfactory quality
  • Are not fit for purpose

I am still unsure about determining 'fit for purpose' and 'satisfactory quality' in this instance.

  • As a USB drive, they 'work'. You can read and write from the USB.

  • However, they are presented as a product designed to deliver wedding photos to a client. No professional photographer would be happy presenting these to a client, as they look so cheap and nasty.

If anybody could provide further guidance or info sources regarding this, it would be much appreciated.

Finally, it is important that we take no action that could be construed as accepting the items - e.g. passing them onto clients.

Business Buyer Rights

https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/rights-when-buying-goods-and-services-another-business

When your business purchases goods or services from another business, you have similar rights to a consumer. This is the case provided there is no contract that contradicts this.

However, while these basic rights can't be excluded from contracts with consumers, they can be excluded from contracts between businesses. So if you're buying goods and services from another business, you should make sure that the terms and conditions of the contract don't put you at a disadvantage.

Business' rights when buying goods In the case of goods, unless otherwise stated, you are entitled to demand that your purchases:

  • correspond with the seller's description
  • are of satisfactory quality
  • safe, in working order and free of minor defects etc
  • are fit for purpose
  • capable of doing what they're meant to do

Similar rights also apply if you're buying services. You can expect services you buy from other businesses to be carried out:

  • with reasonable care and skill within a reasonable time (where not fixed by contract)
  • for a reasonable charge (where not fixed by contract)

It's important to note that these rights don't just apply to purchases. They also cover transactions such as hiring, hire purchase and part exchange.

Protection under the Consumer Credit Act If you operate as a sole trader - within a partnership or as an unincorporated association - you are also protected by the Consumer Credit Act, under which you count as an 'individual'. The Act extends consumer credit regulation to business lending where the amount of the credit or hire agreement is £25,000 or less.

The Act does not apply to limited companies, limited liability partnerships or individuals of 'high net worth' (as long as this is agreed in writing beforehand).

Remedy

https://www.mylawyer.co.uk/buyers-rights-business-to-business-sales-a-A76062D77560/

The 2 main remedies of a buyer in a business-to-business sale are to:

  • reject the goods and get a refund of the price (or not pay the price if they haven't yet done so)
  • claim damages for loss caused by the breach of contract.

The buyer will lose the right to reject the goods if they've accepted them. The buyer might accept the goods by:

  • saying they've accepted them
  • behaviour such as
    • using them,
    • sellingt hem on, or
    • keeping them for more than a reasonable time

If the goods have been accepted, the buyer will only be able to claim damages.


IANAL in a big way, so please feel free to edit or correct this answer if needed.

Thanks.

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