The rights of a buyer of second-hand goods depend on who sells the goods. The basic principle is this:
When second-hand goods are bought from a company or business, the buyer’s rights are determined by the Consumer Protection Act.
Second-hand goods are often sold “as is” or with another similar proviso. In this case the seller is not liable for defects caused, for example, by use or wear and tear.
A buyer of second-hand goods may demand compensation – even if the goods were sold ”as is” – for example if
- the information given about the features or use of the goods was untrue but affected the purchase decision
- an important piece of information concerning the features or use of the goods was not revealed, although it would have affected the purchase decision.
- the item is in worse condition in relation to its price and the circumstances than the buyer could justifiably have expected.
The buyer must primarily complain about defects to the vendor, but consumer rights advisors may be contacted in disputes.
If the second-hand goods were bought from a private individual, the buyer cannot refer to the Consumer Protection Act or turn to consumer authorities if problems occur.
Goods are considered to have been bought from a private individual even when they were purchased from a marketplace maintained by a company, if it is clearly indicated there that the parties to the sales contract are private individuals. This includes self-service flea markets, online forums where sales notices are posted and online auction sites.
In deals between two private individuals, the buyer's rights are determined by the contract terms and the Sale of Goods Act. The provisions of the Sale of Goods Act define defects in a largely similar way to those of the Consumer Protection Act. If this is unsuccessful, the matter can be referred to a district court.
Liability for defects in second-hand goods
A defect in a used car