Sale of Goods Act 1979 Summary


The Sale of Goods Act 1979, is the law that protects consumers. The purpose of this Act is that it requires goods to be as described, of acceptable standards and fit for purpose, for their essential use. All goods that a sold, must match that of the sample shown in that of brochures, stores or showrooms.

It is only not required to be acceptable quality if the consumer noticed any deformity or issue with the product before he/she made a purchase. So if the consumer was to  analyse the merchandise, but neglected the opportunity to examine for any faults, and that they were not of acceptable quality; the absence of value would have been evident on a sensible examination of the product(s), the consumer will not have the capacity to contend that the products were not of a sufficient value.

Section 12 & the Act

On the 1st of October 2015, the Consumer Rights Act enforced to supplant the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Any consumer who made a faulty product(s) purchase prior to this Act coming into action, can still make a claim under the Sales of Goods Act 1979. The Consumer Rights Acts has made significant amendments to the consumer’s rights to return any faulty products purchased and the right to return, repair or request a replacement on faulty purchases, as well as giving the right when buying any digital merchandise.

S.12 of the Sales of Goods Act states that, “In a contract of sale…there is an implied term on the part of the seller that in the case of a sale he has a right to sell the goods, and in the case an agreement to sell he will have such a right at the time when the property is to pass”.

What this quote is implying is that the vendor is not required to be the legitimate proprietor of the products, as long as he has the specialty to offer the service, as he has the right to sell and not the modification of the product.

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Under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, S.12 cannot be subject to an exclusion clause comparable to the other implied terms that can. S6 (1a) obligation for rupture of the commitments emerging under S.12 can’t be avoided or confined by reference to any agreement term, subject to the agreements excepted in that Act. As under S.12 (5A), it affirms that the commitment under S.12 is a legally binding condition, and the lawful premise of which is that there has been a cumulative dissatisfaction of thought or, all the more particularly, as the supplier did not have the ‘right to sell’.

In Rowland v Divall, even if the seller had the right to/not to sell at the time the contract was made, it may still contain an implied or express term that will require the seller at the time of the contract to have the right to sell, as demonstrated in the case of Barber v NWS Bank Ltd [1996].

Unlike the other implied terms, in Rowland v Divall; a breach of S.12 and S.11 doesn’t have an application and the consumer doesn’t lose the right to reject the goods by accepting them. The reason being, it is viewed as a complete failure of not taking into account of any thoughts. It is only acceptable and right that a person shouldn’t have a right to sell. The Court of Appeal concluded that there has been a failure of consideration.  LJ Scrutton discarded the vendor’s protest, so far as it identified with dismissal as contradict to rescission ab initio, by declaring that it scarcely lay in the dealer’s mouth, to grumble of the purchaser’s powerlessness to give back the merchandise, when this very breach originated from the vendor’s breach of S.12(1).

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The claimant had anticipated proprietorship, not usage. The four months usage was viewed as unessential and wasn’t taken into consideration during this time. S.12(1) may be interpreted as implying that the vendor must have the ability to give responsibility for products to the purchaser, yet in the event that the merchandise must be sold by encroaching an exchange stamp, the dealer has no privilege to offer for the reasons for S.12(1).

In Niblett v Confectioners’ Materials Co Ltd, the seller had no right to sell the goods that they owned as it infringed on Nestle’s trademark. It was held that they had no right to sell the goods, even though they had the absolute legal interests in the goods. An agent doesn’t own the product, however, derives associate authority or right to sell. Possession could also be loaded down by third party rights, by any means of opposing a right to sell.

As established in the case of J Barry Winsor & Associates Ltd v Belgo Canadian Manufacturing Co Ltd to necessarily have to be that they may or may not have a legal interest in that of the goods they are selling. It is infringed if the seller doesn’t have the right to sell, at the time the property passed. So there wouldn’t be a breach of S12.

Basically, this would seem to face the privilege to the broad free utilisation of the merchandise without the purchaser making recompense for the frequently broad use he has gotten, regardless of such instituting thoughts inside most acknowledged definitions. The Law Reform Act 1943 S.1(3), empowers a gathering to recuperate a sum for a “valuable benefit” presented before release as a special case to the full recuperation standard, and there would appear to be a further irregularity with different arrangements of the Sale of Goods Act.

While there have been talks on improving the regulation, it is said that it is hard to change the law since evaluating the purchaser’s advantage through ownership would be troublesome and questionable. Diminishing any claims will add up to the purchaser paying the merchant for utilisation of another person’s products. The Law Reform Committee contended that a remittance ought to be made for use by the pure purchaser in such circumstances.

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S.12 of the Act demonstrates the connection between the purchaser and dealer and covers issues, such as the right and obligations and the genuine accentuation ought to be centred on the injustice of the consumer having the pleasure to use products, with the handy ramifications being that they acquire full compensation in case of a breach. This has proven to be more difficult for a consumer to prove their case, especially if the product has been in their possession for a long period of time.


  • Genie T, ‘Consumer Law In A Nutshell’ (Consumer Genie, 2017) <> accessed 26 February 2017
  • Poole J, Casebook On Contract Law (1st edn, Oxford Univ Press 2016)
  • Bridge M, The Sale Of Goods (1st edn, Oxford University Press 1998)
  • Collins D, ‘Rowland V. Divall: Logical Fallacy? The Courts’ Interpretation Of Consumer Protection Is Both Confusing And Unfair’ (2014) 158 Solicitors Journal <> accessed 5 March 2017
  • Atiyah P, Adams J and MacQueen H, Atiyah’s Sale Of Goods (12th edn, Longman 2010)
  • ‘Rowland V Divall’ (2017) <$FILE/Rowland%20v%20Divall.pdf> accessed 5 March 2017

The Genie, ‘Consumer Law In A Nutshell’ (Consumer Genie, 2017) <> accessed 26 February 2017.

Jill Poole, Casebook On Contract Law (1st edn, Oxford Univ Press 2016).

Michael Bridge, The Sale Of Goods (1st edn, Oxford University Press 1998).

Daniel M Collins, ‘Rowland V. Divall: Logical Fallacy? The Courts’ Interpretation Of Consumer Protection Is Both Confusing And Unfair’ (2014) 158 Solicitors Journal <> accessed 5 March 2017.

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