Customer Protection Legislation

The Sales of Goods Act (SOGA) 1979 was passed in order to offer a statutory entitlement of protection to the consumer. It was passed to fill some holes in a previous Act of 1893, which sought to protect customers that purchased goods from sellers. The most prevalent part of the Act consists of four main parts: Section 13 – Description – Goods, when bought, should be the goods that have been advertised. For example a coat that has been advertised as waterproof should not leak in the rain. Section 14 Subsection (2) – Satisfactory Quality – Goods should be of an adequate quality free from defects or flaws.

Section 14 Subsection (3) – Fitness for Purpose – Goods should be fit for the purpose they are intended. For example, outdoor paint should not run off the walls in the rain. Section 15 – Sale by Sample – Where goods are sold by way of sample the bulk of the ordered goods should correspond to the sample. It is clear that by having these implied terms the consumer is well protected when purchasing goods from retailers. Many people state the SOGA when returning faulty/unsatisfactory goods to retailers. The Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994

This act is important for its substitution of the term 'satisfactory quality' for the previously used phrases 'merchantable quality' and 'fit for the purpose'. The guidelines quoted above were set out in the sale and supply of goods act 1994, but are implemented through the sale of goods act. The Supply of Goods and Services actThe product liability section made producers liable for any damage done by defective products. Prior to the implementation of the act, producers could claim that they had not been negligent, or that they did not know that the goods were defective.

Neither of these claims can now be made, which should make manufactures mush more careful in the production and quality control of their goods. The act goes been further in ensuring that customers are protected from damage or injury caused by faulty goods. In addition to the manufactures themselves, importers are also liable, as are sellers who put their own brand name on goods, manufactures by someone else. Suppliers can also be liable if they do not provide, when asked, the name of the manufacturer, their own supplier, the owner of the brand or the importer.

The second part of the act deals with consumer safety and allows the government to regulate the design, components and construction of goods which could if defective, cause injury or even death. Such goods include electrical appliances, oil heaters and flexes on domestic electrical goods. Part three of the act makes it illegal to mislead consumers about the price of any goods, service or facility. The provisions of this part are quite comprehensive and cover such services as banking, gas, and electricity supplies, telephone services and parking and also accommodation and all goods.

When a trader has been found to be unfair to customers and/or to act in a manner that is detrimental to the customer's interest regarding health, safety and other matters, the office of fair trading can demand that the trader should give a written assurance that he or she will stop acting in this manner. Unfair practices include any breach of the law, misrepresentation, misleading pricing, misleading advertising and unfair methods of salesmanship. Competition Most companies are keen to stay ahead of their competitors and are eager to improve customer service. Unfortunately, the urge to do better sometimes has the opposite effect.

Quite often, a business organisation decides that taking over or merging with another company is the way forward. The resulting organisation is now larger than all its rivals and thus more likely to increase its profitability. However, such large businesses can be contrary to the interests of customers, depriving them of choice and providing a lower standard of service. To prevent this, the government has established the competition commission, a body which reviews all proposed mergers and take-overs and can, is it deems it necessary, recommend that the amalgamation should not take place.