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New goods for old

Implementation of an EC directive gives UK
consumers additional rights regarding unsatisfactory quality goods. Richard Lawson analyses the new rules

21 February 2003

Directive 1999/44/EC on Certain Aspects of the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees will come into force on 31 March this year. Ironically, just as the UK finally implements the Directive, the European Commission has opened proceedings against it and other countries for late implementation. The Sales and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002 (SI no 3045) herald a major change in consumer rights in the UK, particularly in the additional rights granted to them. Current position Sections 13 and 14 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (and corresponding provisions in the Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973, and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982) give buyers the right to goods which conform to their description, are of satisfactory quality and are reasonably fit for their purpose. In the event of a breach of any of these conditions, the buyer can rescind the contract and claim damages; or, where he has accepted the goods, just claim damages. ...

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