Rejection of Goods under the Sale of Goods Act

Rejection of Goods under the Sale of Goods Act image

By: Sam Glascow, Trainee Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution department, Farnfields Solicitors

The 30-Day Right to Reject

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which supplements and modernises the principles found in the Sale of Goods Act, consumers have a clear-cut right to reject goods that are faulty, not as described, or unfit for purpose. This right is most effective within the first 30 days of receiving the goods.

During these 30 days, if the goods fail to meet the standards, you can reject them and request a full refund. For instance, if you buy a new laptop and it repeatedly fails to boot up, you can return it within this period for a complete refund. This is known as the “short-term right to reject.”

After 30 Days

If more than 30 days have passed since the purchase, the right to reject becomes more complicated but not lost. You still have rights, but the process differs. After the initial 30 days, you must give the retailer the opportunity to repair or replace the faulty goods.

If the repair or replacement is unsuccessful, or if it causes significant inconvenience, you can then request a refund or a price reduction. For example, if the repaired laptop still does not work correctly, you can ask for your money back or for a discount if you decide to keep it despite its flaws.

The Six-Month Rule

The first six months after purchase are crucial for consumers. During this period, it is presumed that any fault discovered was present at the time of delivery. This means the burden of proof is on the seller to show that the goods were not faulty when sold. This presumption works in favour of the consumer, making it easier to claim a repair, replacement, or refund.

For example, if your laptop breaks down five months after purchase, the seller must prove that the issue was caused by something you did, rather than a pre-existing fault. If they cannot, you are entitled to a repair, replacement, or refund.

After Six Months

After six months, the onus shifts to the consumer to prove that the fault was present at the time of delivery. This can be more challenging, as you may need to provide evidence or an expert opinion. Nevertheless, you still have rights under the Sale of Goods Act and Consumer Rights Act to expect goods that are of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.

If a laptop malfunctions after, say, eight months, you would need to show that the fault was inherent and not due to wear and tear or accidental damage. This might involve an independent assessment or expert report.

Conclusion

Understanding your rights to reject goods is vital for ensuring you get what you pay for. The 30-day right to reject provides a straightforward path to a refund for faulty goods. Beyond this period, repair or replacement becomes the primary remedy, with refunds available if these fail. The six-month rule simplifies claims by presuming faults were present at delivery, but after this period, proving the fault can be more complex.

Always keep receipts and any communication with the seller, and do not hesitate to assert your rights if you receive goods that do not meet the required standards. Knowing your rights can save you time, money, and frustration.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Sam Glascow of our Dispute Resolution team if you require assistance.

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