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I bought electronic goods from an online retailer. A fault appeared after a month-a-half that prevented the goods from working at all.

The way I understand the Sales of Goods Act is that the onus is on the retailer to prove the fault or repair/replace the item.

The retailer have referred me to the manufacturer because the fault developed outside of 28 days of purchase.

1) Is this correct/legal?

2) If I sent it to the manufacturer for repair/replacement, how would that affect my rights?

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No. It's the retailer's responsibility to give you your money back. From s14 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979:

(2) Where the seller sells goods in the course of a business, there is an implied term that the goods supplied under the contract are of satisfactory quality.

(2A) For the purposes of this Act, goods are of satisfactory quality if they meet the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking account of any description of the goods, the price (if relevant) and all the other relevant circumstances.

(2B) For the purposes of this Act, the quality of goods includes their state and condition and the following (among others) are in appropriate cases aspects of the quality of goods—

(a) fitness for all the purposes for which goods of the kind in question are commonly supplied,

(b) appearance and finish,

(c) freedom from minor defects,

(d) safety, and

(e) durability.

If your goods are faulty after a month and a half, it would appear that the goods are not of satisfactory quality as they lack durability - s14(2B)(e) above.

The Sale of Goods act is very clear that your contract is with the seller. You have the right to terminate that contract, because s14 is always a condition if you're a consumer. Furthermore, the seller cannot exclude liability for breach of any terms regarding the quality of goods, and specifically, they can't exclude themselves from liability under s14 of the Sale of Goods Act. All of this is found in the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.

So the answer is: you appear to have a reasonable case for returning the goods to the retailer, and they are required, by law, to give you their money back. If you sent the goods back to the manufacturer, those rights shouldn't be affected, on the basis that UCTA states that those rights cannot be excluded.

(Disclaimer: this shouldn't be taken as legal advice, merely advice given peer to peer. In your situation, that's what I would argue myself.)

  • This answers everything and seems to be backed up. I'm happy that this is the correct answer, but I'll leave the question open for a while to allow different answers. Many thanks for your time. – Prinsig Jun 19 '15 at 11:56
  • Understood, and no problem. – lc9315 Jun 19 '15 at 12:00
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    I was excited for a second, and then I found out this is U.K. law and not U.S. law. And now I'm sad, again. Well, on the bright side, good for you, U.K. – Parthian Shot Jun 20 '15 at 0:06
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In the UK (for the next two years at least), and in the EU: For expensive items, you will usually have a manufacturer's warranty, and at the same time you have your consumer rights against the seller. If that is the case then you have the choice which one to contact to fix the problem. (The manufacturer's warranty will often be more favourable six months after the sale, where your consumer rights lose some value).

However, neither the seller nor the manufacturer (if you have a manufacturer's warranty) have the right to refuse helping you and refer you to the other. If you take the item to the seller, they must fix the problem according to UK consumer laws. If you take the item to the manufacturer, they must fix the problem if that is what their warranty says.

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