Non-professional dealings

Have you bought something from a non-professional trader? 

For non-professional and private sales generally, the principle caveat emptor (‘let the buyer beware’) holds. When you buy something from a non-professional trader, you are not protected by the stipulations of the law that goods sold must be of satisfactory quality and fit for the purpose intended.

Be aware of

When buying from car-boot sales, the small advertisements in newspapers or someone in the pub, you are not protected by the Sale of Goods Act 1979, so inspect goods carefully before you commit yourself to buy. Here is some handy expert advice.

  • First of all, never buy from an advertiser whom you can contact only through a mobile phone number, or who wants to meet in public place or at your home or workplace. Further, if you have already bought an item make sure that you get a receipt that includes the seller’s name and address. 

  • Beware of goods that could be hazardous, such as electrical devices, car seats and furnishings that could give off toxic fumes in a fire, children’s toys that could injure or choke, and children’s clothing that might not be flameproof.

  • Look out of stolen goods. Popular items include power tools, garden ornaments and mountain bikes. If you suspect that something you bought may have been stolen, contact the police.

  • Be also wary of pirated goods. Often, these are cheap, poor-quality video and audio tapes and CDs. However, they could also be labelled perfumes, watches, clothes and cosmetics. Alcohol, DIY tools and computer software are also amongst the pirated top list.

Buying from private individuals

Regular sellers of new items at markets and car-boot sales are probably professional traders masquerading as private sellers. Rogue traders often masquerade as private sellers in order to avoid their obligations under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, leaving you without protection against malfunctioning, shoddy or dangerous goods.

Rules to protect consumers may not apply or may be ignored.

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For more information on:

  • Protecting your interests 
  • Indemnity Fee
  • Paying by credit card
  • Your rights if the goods are faulty 
  • Refund
  • Guarantees
  • Compensation
  • Dealing with disputes