The Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994, which has amended the Sale of Goods Act 1979, governs both consumer and commercial contracts. The Act governs the sale of the following goods:
- specific goods - goods that are identified and agreed to be purchased by the buyer
- future goods - goods that are to be manufactured or acquired to the buyer’s specification
- unascertained goods - goods defined by description or by samples and forming part of a larger consignment
Many of the terms contained in the Act govern consumer contracts in a different way than they do commercial contracts, so care is needed. The main relevant elements of the legislation relates to
- Satisfactory quality / Fitness for purpose
- Goods sold by description or by sample
- Transfer of ownership
The Department of Trade and Industry has a fact sheet on the sale of goods rights and faulty goods on its web site. Note: care should be exercised as a number of the rights listed relate only to consumer contracts.
If in doubt, check with your Head of Procurement, as you cannot always assume that your rights as a commercial buyer are the same as those as an individual acting in a private capacity.