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last updated: 29th July 2011

This is a term given to a supplier’s or manufacturer’s liability if it supplies defective products that cause the purchaser or the user loss, damage, injury or even death.

A product is deemed to be defective “… if the safety of the product is not such as persons are generally entitled to expect.”

There are three main ways in which the manufacturer/supplier is liable and different rules apply to each.  The purchaser or user can claim against the manufacturer/supplier under:

Note: problems can arise, in legal terms, where a member of staff purchases an item that is then brought into an organisation and used.  If that item, subsequently, turns out to be defective and a claim for damages should arise, the courts will first have to determine the parties to the contract ie the individual who made the purchase or the organisation.  The available remedies differ for private consumer contracts and commercial contracts.  Therefore, to help avoid potential problems products to be used by and within an organisation should be purchased under its normal procurement procedures.

Should product liability problems arise you should seek advice from your Head of Procurement.

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