Why do we need consumer protection? Well, let me tell you what will happen if the consumer protection doesn’t exist:
* Companies will mislead you.
* Companies will sell faulty goods by mistake or deliberately.
* Companies might sell goods that endanger the consumer.
* Companies will take advantage of you.
Example if consumer protection did not exist: If you buy a chocolate from a newsagent, it turned out to be out of date and you would like to refund it, if he doesn’t want to refund it than you couldn’t do nothing about it but this isn’t very important whereas if you buy a car which in the meter it says it has 5,000 mileage but the real mileage is 20,000 then you still cannot do nothing about it.
Consumer Protection is needed to protect the consumers from big companies for selling the products that:
* Did not meet its description. Companies and their representatives should describe the goods accurately. If the companies do sell goods that are not as described then the consumer has the right to obtain a full refund. If the company disagrees then the consumer may take them to court for compensation.
* Are not fit for the intended purpose. This protects the consumer for buying goods that are not fit for its intended purpose. E.g. you buy a waterproof jacket; first time it is worn in the rain it lets the water through. On the face it a consumer might be entitled to compensation.
* Cause injuries to consumers. Goods must be safe for their intended purpose. E.g. the lawn mower is very dangerous if you put your finger in it but this is not the fault of the manufacture. If a piece of a new lawn mower flies off and injures a neighbour then it is possible that the machine is faulty and the manufacturer may be liable.
Law of contract
A contract is an agreement between two people or more, involving the exchange of something value. There are written contracts and non-written contracts. A simple example for a written contract is when you apply for a credit card .A simple example for non-written contract is when you buy a chocolate and you pay cash.
A recent change to the law means that if you give a gift to someone, they can have the rights under the contract as a third party. It is important that you tell the sales person the good is going to be a gift.
Your contract with the shop gives you consumer rights, and one of which says that when you buy something it should not be faulty or broken.
What are the main elements that a contract must contain to be legally binding? There are five important elements that a contract must contain, they are:
* Capacity. Each party must understand what they are doing, terms and conditions of goods. They should be legally capable of making the contracts e.g. there are restrictions on the type of contracts people under 18 can make; the contract may be invalid if the person is drunk.
* Offer. In most contracts the buyer must offer the seller to buy an item. The contract may be verbally or in writing. It is a possibility that the retailer may refuse to accept your offer, and there is nothing you can do it about it unless he’s discriminating you on the grounds of race or gender.
* Acceptance. The shop agrees to sell you the item at the agreed price. This must be communicated to the person making the offer. It may be:
* By verbal or written statement.
* By conduct
The acceptance must be unreservedly. This means that it must exactly match the offer.
* Consideration. The legal term for payment in exchange for the goods.
* Intention to create legal regulations. It is assumed that if you want to make a purchase you intend to create a legal relationship with the seller.
There are five Acts of Parliament. They are:
* The Sales of Goods Act 1979 and 1995. This Act is one of the important Acts today. This covers the fundamental requirements of purchasers that goods must be:
* As described. This means that goods must be the way the purchaser described. As a customer you could sue if you are sold a product that does not meet its description e.g. you go on holiday to Wales and you buy “Real Welsh Rock” for your friends. They discover that the rock was manufactured in Skegness.
* Fit for the purpose intended. As well as being fit for the purpose for they are generally sold, goods should also be fit for any specific or particular purpose made known at the time of the agreement.
* Of a Satisfactory quality i.e. of a standard that a reasonable person would consider to be satisfactory – generally free from fault or defect, as well as being fit for their usual purpose, of a reasonable appearance and finish, safe and durable.
* The Supply of goods and Services Act 1982. Anyone who supplies a service must carry out the work:
* With a reasonable care and skill
* Within a reasonable time
* At a reasonable price
* Using satisfactory materials.
* The Consumer Protection Act 1987. This Act relates to a price and safety. Under the Act it is an offence:
* To mislead as to the price of goods, services, accommodation or facilities.
* To mislead consumers over sale prices and claim exaggerated price reduction.
* To supply goods which are not safe for the consumer.
* Trade Description Act 1968. This Act makes it a criminal offence:
* To make false statements about goods offered for sale.
* To misleading statements about services.
This is harder to prove if there is a dispute.
* The Consumer Credit Act 1974. This requires all businesses, which offer credit to have specific license.