UK: Buyer beware of warranties.

UK: Buyer beware of warranties. - What can you claim for faulty goods or unsatisfactory service?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

What can you claim for faulty goods or unsatisfactory service?

When buying goods or services, you may receive a warranty from the manufacturer, dealer or service provider. If so, the contract will either specifically say so or, in certain situations, a warranty may be implied in accordance with an act of parliament, such as the Sale of Goods Act 1979 which says that goods should be fit for the purpose for which they are bought. If the contract is silent, court may be the only option.

The warranties in your potential contract should set out what constitutes a breach and what you can do if, for example, your goods break down, are of unsatisfactory quality or you have been subjected to shoddy workmanship or service. Distinguish between a warranty and a contract condition.

A breach of warranty only entitles you to claim damages for loss sustained as a result of the breach, whereas a breach of condition entitles you to claim damages and to choose to treat the contract as having come to an end. If the contract is unclear, it is really a question of degree - what is the nature and consequences of the breach? A warranty is more likely where the breach is trivial.

Damages will usually cover the cost of repair or restitution, or substitution. You may also claim for loss incurred, such as loss of profit, but many contracts try to limit the liability of the provider of goods or services by excluding liability for indirect or consequential loss including loss of profit.

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