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Property law or Sale of Goods act?


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Guys,

 

I have a problem. The washing machine that came with our new build house as part of the incentive to move in has failed 2 years and 4 months after moving in to our home.

 

Ive contacted Whirlpool and they pointed us back to the house builders as our "relationship" is with them and not the manufacturers. Ive contacted the house builders and as far as they are concerned the goods lasted a reasonable time (according to them) and that they arent liable for any repairs!

 

I contacted consumer direct and they said we arent covered by the Sale of Goods act and as the washing machine came with the house that we are then covered by Property Law and that Id have to contact the solicitors we used to buy the house (or any other solicitors) to get them invovled!

 

All of that means expense! We arent covered by legal aid as my wife and I earn just over the maximum allowed for free legal advice!

 

so, does anyone here have any advice?

 

At this time, anything is going to be hugely appreciated!

 

Regards

 

Mailman

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This would be covered by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, as a "transfer of property in goods", which is therefore a part of consumer protection law.

 

With regard to the quality of goods etcetera, the protection is thus equivalent to the Sale of Goods Act. See sections 8 & 9 of the SGSA for instance.

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Perplexity,

 

You sir (or madam) are a champion! thanks so much for this, and yes, this seems to be on a par with the sales of goods act for what it covers.

 

Second question, given the builders have so far refused to play ball what would be your suggestion for getting the ball rolling?

 

Specifically if I sent them another email but this time listing the steps I intend to take to get the washing machine fixed/replaced and then giving them 5 days to answer in the affirmative that they will now honour the legal committments under the said act?

 

If they fail, I should be able to take them to the small claims court to get our money back for a new washing machine, plus the cost of having to use a public laundrette (£10 so far) plus petrol (13mile round trip) aye?

 

Regards

 

Mailman

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It may well be possible to claim against the original supplier of the washing machine in so far as you were intended to benefit from the contract of sale. The statute to peruse is thus the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

 

According to Section 1(3) the crucial stipulation is that

 

The third party must be expressly identified in the contract by name, as a member of a class or as answering a particular description but need not be in existence when the contract is entered into.
-----

 

While you may be able to get yourself some better advice on this, it seems to me that if the thing was especially delivered to your present address for an occupier to use, that should be enough to establish the legitimacy of a claim.

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So as long as the sheet that shows the washing machine as being an incentive to buy the house has my name on it (which it does) then I can sue the f8ckers for the cost of the repairs/replacement?

 

Regards

 

Mailman

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It is a common law right to sue for breach of contract (if that is what you reckon it is) with or without the legislation, when all other attempts to negotiate a settlement fail.

 

Statutory provisions lay down the appropriate benchmarks but it is still a matter of what is fair and reasonable, to be decided in view of the facts of the matter that you would therefore have to prove. An independent technical report along with documentary evidence of the relevant correspondence is par for the course.

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Section 1 of the SGSA 1982 excepts a transfer "made by deed" with the caveat that "there is no consideration other than the presumed consideration imported by the deed".

 

Whether or not that opens the door to an "incentive to move" is a tricky thing to speculate about.

 

If a washing machine is to be paid for as an optional extra there is an argument to be had of that, or if an offer lasts for a period of time, especially to encourage an immediate purchase, that could be counted as an extra consideration.

 

If the item was a usual part of a house that a developer sold by deed, that is another story.

 

It would in any case be dangerous to interpret the statute without the guidance of an expert with more experience of property development that I could pretend to own. Without a fortune to spend on legal advice, the best bet is probably to look around for previous instances to see what became of the argument.

 

Intuitively, there is a case to be made, but will not be easy to make.

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