Your rights as a buyer
Private sellers are not bound by the Consumer Protection Act – but that doesn’t mean you have no rights at all.
The Consumer Protection Act does not apply to transactions between two private individuals. No agency will be able to help or settle any disputes should they arise. The goods merely have to be owned by the seller and fit their description, so it is very much a case of caveat emptor, or ‘buyer beware’.
Individuals are bound to sell items in good faith, i.e. to give accurate information about the quality of the products they are selling. If an individual sells a product and knows it is dangerous and/or damaged at the time of the sale, then there is the potential for a civil case to be taken against them.
Of course, regardless of who you are buying from, you can protect yourself by:
- never paying for goods before you receive them
- examining the goods before making a purchase
- being careful of sellers who seem overly eager or pushy to sell you something
- realising if something appears too good to be true, it probably is
It is always worth asking if a warranty exists, particularly for electronics.
A guarantee is a contract with the seller of the goods and the purchaser and cannot be transferred to a third party.
Warranties, on the other hand, are given to products and they remain valid even if the ownership of the product is transferred.
Ask the seller for proof of purchase in case you do have a problem with the product and want to use the warranty. This is particularly important for those buying unwanted gifts, which may never have been used by the seller but may have a fault. As such, the warranty may not be restricted to the first owner of a product. The provider of the warranty is responsible for their obligation for the entire validity of the warranty, regardless of who owns the product. However, the use of the product may not change substantially, for example from private use to professional use.
It goes without saying, but please remember to always check the terms and conditions of the warranty.
Information provided to DoneDeal by John Shine, Director Commercial Practices, Product Safety & Consumer Credit at the National Consumer Agency.