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last updated: 12th August 2011

In the previous legislation, the Sale of Goods Act 1979, the term “merchantable quality” was used to describe the quality of goods that a buyer could expect to be delivered. In the 1994 Act the term has been changed to “satisfactory quality” and is defined as “… meeting the standard which any reasonable person would regard as satisfactory taking into consideration the description, the price and all other relevant circumstances.” 

The Act states that goods must be:

  • of the required state and condition
  • fit for the purpose for which they are intended
  • free from minor defects
  • safe
  • durable
     

Note: Whilst this applies to new goods, it does not necessarily apply to second-hand goods. This will depend on the severity of the defect and on any contributory factors.

Under the guidelines to the Act, there are certain circumstances when you will have little or no comeback:

  • you have examined the goods and a fault was obvious
  • if the supplier has told you of a fault before you accept the goods
  • if there are outside circumstances which mean there is a strong possibility that the goods might be faulty
     

If in doubt about accepting goods where there may be a problem check with your Head of Procurement.

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