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Sale of Goods Terms of Business Update

May 2013

This month we are publishing a substantial update to our Business-to-Consumer Sale of Goods Terms and Conditions. Whilst technically an update, in that this document replaces one which we have offered for many years, this is an all-new template, written from the ground up in terms that have been designed to be as consumer-friendly as possible.

No longer are the terms and conditions couched in heavy business and legal terms. They have not lost any of their legal and business effectiveness, but can now be easily read and interpreted by an average consumer.

The updated Sale of Goods Terms and Conditions are suitable for use with a wide range of goods and can thus be applied to most every-day sale of goods transactions. This newly written document template can be used whether the seller is the manufacturer of the goods or simply a reseller.

Please note that this document is not suitable for transactions involving bespoke goods. An alternative version of this document for the sale of bespoke goods will be published in June 2013.

Key Legal Points

There are a number of important legal points to be aware of when contracting with consumers. In sale of goods transactions the most important laws to be aware of are:

- The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, prohibiting misleading or aggressive sales practices;
- The Sale of Goods Act 1979, requiring, among other things, that goods be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described;
- The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, prohibiting terms that excessively limit or exclude the seller’s liability, ensuring that guarantees properly protect consumers, and generally ensuring that terms are reasonable; and
- The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, providing further protection for consumers by, for example, ensuring good faith and avoiding significant imbalance in the rights of the parties.

It is important for all sellers to be aware of their obligations and the rights of their customers.

The terms of the updated Sale of Goods Terms and Conditions have been written with these laws in mind. The terms have been designed to be easily understood by consumers and to be fair to them. The seller’s obligations and rights, as reflected in these terms and conditions are designed to be compatible with a consumer’s rights under the Sale of Goods Act.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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