Consumer contract law Essay

One of the issues present in this case is whether or not Marge was induced into buying the ‘Green Racer’ car. Marge considers herself to be environmentally conscious and expressed her desire to have an environmentally friendly car. Two months after Marge had purchased the car she became aware that the ‘Green Racer' car had not reached the standard emissions and environmental pollution test. The core qualities and attributes of the car that was advertised to her were in fact false. The first relevant rule to assess is the quality. The Consumers Act 2015 states that “Every contract to supply goods is to be treated as including a term that the quality of the goods is satisfactory.” The main test in determining whether a good is of satisfactory quality is if they meet the standard that a ‘reasonable’ person would consider satisfactory; taking into account any description of the goods, the price or other consideration for the goods and all the other relevant circumstances. In common law it is often deemed unacceptable to sell a product which is not fit for its purpose. An example of this might be a trader selling a mobile phone which does not receive or send text messages. This mobile phone would not be considered to be of a satisfactory quality, as it is unable to send and receive messages; which is considered to be one of the core characteristics of a mobile phone to any reasonable person. Hence why all phones have this function. As mentioned prior section two of the CRA also mentions the importance of taking into account any description of the goods including the price. There are factors the courts are likely to consider such as advertisement and public statements which may influence the consumer to purchase the goods. This is illustrated in the Rodgers case. Where the advertisement of the Range Rover, generated higher expectations from the consumer thus widening their scope above the level of an ordinary car that will get you from A to B to a luxury car. When applied to the facts of this case it is evident that the advertisement for the ‘Green Race’ car (a powerful car meeting the highest ethical and environmental standards) raised Marge’s expectation of the quality of the car. It was this advert which then influenced Marge to go to the Joe’s Autos the next day and purchase the car. Consequently it can be argued that Marge was induced to purchase the car under false pretence and should able to seek remedies. The ‘Green Racer’ car would not be considered satisfactory to any reasonable man. This can be proven by comparing the ‘Green racer’ car to various economical friendly cars within the market. It would be more than likely that the other models of cars would have met the standards of the emissions and environmental pollution test. In order to strengthen Marge’s case I would advise her to seek breach based on the fitness for particular purpose. This concept within the CRA applies to “a contract to supply goods if before the contract is made the consumer makes known to the trader (expressly or by implication) any particular purpose for which the consumer is contracting for the goods”. This rule is evidently applicable to Marge’s situation as she had ‘a long chat with the sales-person about the environmental friendliness of the car’ which resulted in her buying the car. This conversation is imperative as it made clear to the trader that Marge wanted the car to serve a particular purpose. She did not want any ordinary car but instead a car that was eco-friendly. By confiding with the trader her requirements and expectations Marge was clearly relying on the seller’s skills and judgement on the car, which is a necessity in order for her to seek breach of fitness for a particular purpose. Section 10(4) of the CRA states that fitness of a particular purpose does not apply “if the circumstances show that the consumer does not rely, or it is unreasonable for the consumer to rely, on the skill or judgment of the trader or credit-broker.” In cases such as Teheran- Europe v ST Belton the court ruled that it would be unreasonable to apply the seller’s skills and judgement to a market they knew nothing about. However this is not the case with Marge she was not relying on the trader’s knowledge on international matters but instead on matters of expertise. It was not unreasonable for her to assume that the trader understood her desire to buy an environmentally friendly car and what is meant by ‘environmentally friendly’. Due to the fact that ‘Green Racer’ car did not serve the particular purpose, I would advise Marge that she could make a claim based of this argument. On the basis that a breach of either fitness of a particular purpose or satisfactory quality term is achieved, I would then advise Marge on the remedies available to her under the CRA 2015. One remedy available is the short term right to reject goods this is when the consumer can reject the goods, terminate the contract and receive a refund. Normally, the right to reject must be exercised within 30 days of the first day after both ownership has passed and the goods have been delivered . Marge however only noticed this breach two months after the purchase thus making this remedy not applicable to her. The next general available remedy would be to demand a repair or a replacement. However, when applied to Marge’s case this tier 1 remedy would be, disproportionate and rather impossible. It would be disproportionate and extremely costly to ask IMG motors to create a whole new vehicle that matches Marge’s requirements. As short term right to reject, repair and replacement are all insufficient remedies for Marge, I would advise her to seek tier two remedies which include a final rejection (rescission) of the contract and a full refund. Tier two remedies are not time limited (no 30 day rule) except for the general limitation period for breach of contract-claim to be brought within 6 years of date of breach. Which is perfect for Marge as she will make her claim within this period. Q1 (b) The next issue at hand for Marge is that she purchased ‘latest cutting edge technology navigation app’, only for the app to stop working within two days. Naturally the first rule when applied to Marge’s situation is satisfactory quality of term; Marge purchased a travel app so the relevant rights and remedies would come under the concept of digital content. The CRA states that “Every contract to supply digital content is to be treated as including a term that the quality of the digital content is satisfactory.” The quality of digital content Is satisfactory and proved “if it meets the standard that a reasonable person, taking account of, any description of the digital content, the price of the product and all the other relevant circumstances. When applying this rule to Marge’s scenario the ‘description of the digital content’ and the advertisement of the faulty app are very essential factor resulting in Marge’s decision to purchase the app. The Travel app was described as ‘the latest cutting edge’ these words would have made Marge believe that the app was of a higher standard and raised her expectation. Nevertheless with or without higher raised expectation of the product it can still be argued that the travel app would have not passed the test, no reasonable person would consider the travel app of being satisfactory, as it stopped working two days after purchase. Marge can also seek breach based on the fitness of a particular purpose. CRA states that digital content must be fit for its particular purpose, whether or not that is the purpose which that digital content it usually supplied for. Therefore when applied to Marge’s situation it is evident that the purpose of the App is to provide navigation. The app stopped working after two days thus making it not fit for the particular purpose. Even with the smallest of defects there can be serious consequences for the breach as illustrated in the Parsons v Uttley Ingham case. I would therefore advise Marge to seek this breach and bring forth a claim. Assuming there is a breach; Marge may have certain remedies available to her. There is no right for an initial rejection within 30 days with digital content. The most applicable remedy in regards to digital content is price reduction. Price reduction applies when there has been an attempt to repair and replace the product. If the trader is unable to repair the product within a reasonable time or it is disproportionate for them to do so, one can ask for price reduction. Depending on the level of defect the price reduction can be an equivalent of a full refund. Therefore I would advise Marge about the various remedies available to her such as a repair or replacement of the app to a full refund, allowing her to decide which one best suits her. Q2) It is crucial to understand the historical background, of the laws and regulations regarding consumer contract rights; The way in which it has been changed and reformed over the last several years in comparison to the pre-existing rules. The complex web of legislation has developed across decades, evolving from common law to a statutory system, strongly inspired by European law. The constant reforms over the years have great importance as it shows growth in the laws and regulations and the constant need for improvement required for consumers to be truly protected. Therefore, this essay will analyse and evaluate the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulation (CPR) 2014 and assess the areas of law that are beneficial in comparison to the laws that are weak and ineffective. I will also provide solutions and how these limitations can be improved.

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