Consumer Law - Effectiveness of guaratees

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0606522                12/5/2008

Consumer Law Assignment 2 Answer:

A manufacturer’s guarantee has become an expected standard feature of the sale of ‘consumer durables’. Sometimes the manufacturer can express his confidence in the product, formally in the shape of a written guarantee or warranty which accompanies the goods. The guarantee is normally for a period of 12 months from the date of purchase. However you cannot claim for any consequential loss or inconvenience under a guarantee. It is also often a sales tactic when selling white, brown or grey goods, promoting good customer after care, thus subsequently increasing sales.

The guarantee usually consists of an undertaking by the manufacturer to repair or replace faulty goods within a certain period of time. With cars it is usually regarded as a ‘manufacturers warranty’ that is, in general for a duration of 3 years when you have purchased a car new from the showroom.

There has been very few cases to show the effectiveness of guarantees, most of them were over 30 years ago, some of them are no longer good law.


The consumer may find that his rights under a manufacturer’s guarantee are easier to enforce than his Sale of Goods Act (SOGA) 1979 rights against his supplier, where he may have considerable difficulty in proving that the goods were not of satisfactory quality. However since the introduction of the EU directive, part 5A ‘additional rights of buyer’ the consumer enjoys a reversed burden of proof entitlement where it is up to the supplier to prove that goods did not conform to the contract of sale, within the first 6 months of purchase, but not after. It would also need to be established that under section 35 of the SOGA, whether or not the consumer accepted the goods by retaining them beyond a reasonable time. This is illustrated in Bernstein v Pamson Motors  Rougier J in his ratio went onto say: ‘by keeping the car for 3 weeks, Mr Bernstein has accepted the car and was entitled therefore to damages only’. The amendments of sec 35(5) mean that the law is now more favourable to the buyers as recently in Clegg v Olle Anderson the buyer was able to reject the yacht after 7 months.

In general all a guarantee can do is supplement your statutory rights under the SOGA. In Rogers v Parish Lord Mustill in his obiter went on to say: The manufacturers warranty did not require the buyer to accept defects of which he could otherwise complain, since the warranty was an addition to his rights and not a subtraction from them, so that the existence of the warranty did not indicate that the buyer was expecting a vehicle of lower standard than that which he would have been entitled to expect without the warranty.   How much they add is problematic. It can also depend on the type of guarantee or warrantee you have. Some maybe useless, in other words the devil is in the fine print, there maybe clauses such as the consumer having to pay the carriage charge to send it to the repairer and sometimes even the cost of labour. It’s in these instances; it can render the guarantee virtually useless. There is also the possibility that the manufacturer may say that there is nothing wrong with product and that it has been mishandled.

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It is also important to note, that if the consumer wants to prosecute for breach of contract under the guarantee, his only rights are those granted in the guarantee. He cannot claim against the manufacturer that his statutory rights have been infringed under SOGA, this is often misunderstood by the consumer.

The question arises of whether a manufacturer is bound to honour the promises contained in his guarantee. Prior to the consumer regulations 2002, the legal position was far from clear. You would have to establish whether or not the guarantee can form the basis of a ...

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