This essay will examine these different legal provisions and their application and assess why they may not be effective in securing a cost effective remedy for the consumer, who would likely benefit from arbitration instead, which could involve lower costs.
Internet sales are becoming increasingly common, but as discussed further below, the difficulties in establishing and proving a case through the application of the appropriate statutory provisions would make it an expensive process or consumers. The legal conditions pertaining to the sale of goods are governed by the Sale of Goods Act of 1979. Section 14(2) of the Act states that “where the seller sells goods in the course of a business, there is an implied term that the goods supplied under the Act are of satisfactory quality”1 unless existing defects are specifically bought to the buyer’s attention before the purchase or the buyer has the opportunity to examine the goods before purchase. The problems which arise in the case of Internet sales are that it is difficult for consumer to closely examine the goods that they are purchasing first hand; rather there is an implied condition that the goods are in a merchantable condition. On e-commerce websites such as e-bay, purchasers are generally relying upon what they can see of a product in pictures which are posted on the site and relying upon the descriptions offered by the sellers and there may be little recourse available to remedy defects or deficiencies which are discovered later.
In further defining what constitutes a “satisfactory quality” of the goods as defined under the Act, Section 14 (2A) of the Act states that “for the purposes of this Act, the quality of goods includes their state and condition and the following (among others) are in appropriate cases aspects of the quality of goods: (a)fitness for the purposes for which goods of the kind in question are commonly supplied (b) appearance and finish (c)freedom from minor defects