HC Deb 08 March 1999 vol 327 c24W
Mr. Laurence Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what(a) United Kingdom and (b) European legislation regulates the sale of secondhand goods; and if he will make a statement. [75010]

Dr. Howells

Consumers have the same rights in UK law when they buy secondhand goods as when they buy new ones. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 requires goods sold by traders to be of satisfactory quality. The test of quality is what a reasonable person would find satisfactory, taking into account the price, how the goods are described and other relevant factors such as age. If, taking account of these considerations, a buyer finds the goods are not of satisfactory quality when he initially examines or tries them out, he can reject them and seek a refund. If a fault, of which the buyer could not reasonably be unaware when he bought the goods, manifests itself after he has accepted the goods he is entitled to claim compensation (such as the cost of repair or money back). The buyer can claim compensation for up to six years after purchase in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and up to five years after the goods have caused loss in Scotland.

Traders selling new or second hand goods must also comply with general consumer protection legislation, such as the Trade Descriptions Act 1968.

The proposed EC Directive on the Sale of Consumer Goods, expected to be adopted later this year for implementation by 1 January 2002, applies to both second hand and new goods. If goods sold are not in conformity with the contract, the Directive will give consumers the remedies of repair or replacement whichever is more economical, in relation to defects, present when the goods were bought, for up to two years afterwards. The Directive gives additional remedies of price reduction or rescission of the contract when repair or replacement of faulty goods is not possible.

In addition to Sale of Goods legislation, there is a considerable body of Community and domestic legislation setting out safety requirements for specific kinds of goods, including second hand goods.

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