Laws concerning contracts

Businesses are generally free to enter into contracts on whatever terms they see fit to agree. However, contracts involving sales of goods can be subject to a range of statutory provisions.

Consumers have greater protection than buyers who are ‘dealing in the course of a business’. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a 'Consumer' is an individual who, in his dealings with a Trader, is not acting for the purposes of a business. Where a person presents himself as a business (for example, by setting up a business account for buying a service) the law does not consider him to be a Consumer. If the Trader wishes to argue the customer is not a Consumer, and that the customer's rights are therefore limited, then the burden of proof is on them to show this.

The Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 introduced significant changes to areas formerly covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (the Act), the Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973, and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. However, when the buyer is a business, the 1979 Act, as amended, remains the fundamental piece of legislation applying to the sale of goods.

The Supply of Goods And Services Act (SGSA) 1982 requires that service providers carry out work, with reasonable care and skill, in a reasonable time (where a definite completion date was not agreed) and at a reasonable price (where a fixed price was not set in advance). 

Other laws to consider include: