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Sale of Goods, Supply of Services: A Case Study

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 20 Nov 2018 |
Sale Of Goods, Supply Of Services: A Case Study

Edward found a table advertised for sale on eBay and decided he wanted two of them for his living room. He emailed the seller who said that he would be able to sell him two matching wooden tables.

Edward enquired about the cost of delivery and the seller, who was also in the UK, stated that he would be able to arrange to have them delivered by courier. The price for packaging and delivery was reasonable so Edward paid the seller by Paypal. The transaction was completed via a number of emails, rather than through eBay, which was something that Edward was later to regret.

What Went Wrong

When the tables arrived, Edward was surprised to see that they were merely placed inside cardboard boxes and had no other padding or protection. When he lifted the first one out of the box he could see that one of the legs was splintered and had in fact broken. The second table had a large dent in the top of it, as though something very heavy had been dropped onto it. It was also very scratched.

Making a Complaint

Edward emailed the seller immediately to tell him that the furniture was not acceptable, the reasons why the furniture wasn’t acceptable, and that he wanted a replacement or a refund. The seller replied, stating that he had adequately packaged the tables and that the couriers must have been to blame. He asked Edward to ‘bear with him’ while he made enquiries with the courier.

However, the courier stated that they had not been told that the boxes contained anything fragile and also that the courier was not responsible for packaging the furniture prior to putting it in the boxes. Edward decided that he wanted his money back and so contacted the seller to ask how he should arrange for the return of the damaged goods. Shortly after this the seller stopped interacting with Edward, and refused to acknowledge his letters or answer his telephone calls.

Going to Court

Edward subsequently had no option but to lodge proceedings in the small claims court to recover the cost of the furniture from the seller. The seller in turn joined the courier to the proceedings as a second defendant, stating that it was their negligence that caused the tables to arrive damaged. It was the seller’s contention that he had contracted with the couriers, who should have used reasonable care in exercising their role of delivering the furniture.

At the Hearing

At the hearing, the judge heard evidence from Edward, the seller and a representative of the courier’s company. Although the seller argued that the courier was to blame, Edward argued that the seller was to blame for not adequately packing the furniture prior to passing it on to the courier.

After considering each party’s submissions the judge found in favour of Edward who was awarded the cost of the tables, and was reimbursed the cost of bringing the claim to court. As the judge found that the courier had not been to blame, the seller was made to pay the courier’s costs as well, as it had been his idea to join the courier to the proceedings.

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Contemplating taking car dealer to small claims court - sold is Ford Focus for £550.00, two days later clutch broke 400 miles away. He says has done enough by offering to repair if vehicle returned to him, AA [and Consumer Protection Act 2015] say the if vehicle cannot be driven, it is the responsibility of the dealer to recover the vehicle at no cost to customer. He says that, essentially, the age and price of the vehicle dilute or negate his legal obligations, and that this will be the judgement of a Small Claims Court? Is he bluffing? Is there anywhere I can find precedent for judgements of this type?
Roxx - 5-Sep-17 @ 2:38 PM
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