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Title: Sold the wrong engine

Date: 09 March 2011

 

Sale of Goods Act & Misrepresentation
 
Question
 
I had a plan for a winter project this year & as I had a GSR600 Suzuki (non-runner) I thought it may be interesting to fit a 750 engine in it.
 
I found an engine on E-bay in October advertised as a GSXR 750K4 which I bought. The engine was delivered & it was a GSXR 750 it went to the back of my garage until I was ready to start the project.
 
Due to problems in the months following (no work, freezing weather in December etc.) the project was delayed until a week ago. Unfortunately when I properly unwrapped the engine I realised that it was not a K4 but a 2000. I got straight back on to the supplier (MT motorcycles of Doncaster). It seems that they view their mistake as tough luck.
 
I do appreciate that there was a long delay in finding the error, but the attitude from MT was wholly unhelpful to the point of being sarcastic.
 
Is it correct that I still have some rights under the Sale of Goods Act or am I totally stuffed having wasted £600 (anyone want a GSXR 750 Y2K engine)?
 
Tony Hales
 
Answer
 
If a dealer sells goods that are not as described, are not fit for purpose or are of unsatisfactory quality, you are legally entitled to ask the dealer to rectify the problem.
 
The Sale of Goods Act states that if a customer wants to reject goods that do not fit the description, they have to do so within a 'reasonable time'. What is a 'reasonable' time is not in black and white and it varies from case to case from just a few weeks from the date of purchase. If you fall within the 'reasonable' period you are entitled to ask for your money back. You are theoretically entitled to your money back or a replacement engine (the one you paid for) if possible.
 
Whether your circumstances would qualify as being in a “reasonable” time frame is arguable both ways and ultimately it would be for the court to decide. I can see MT saying you should have checked the goods on receipt and I wonder if you had to sign a form saying you had done so.
 
If you did not sign a delivery receipt confirming you were happy with the goods then you could go down the route of misrepresentation if MT’s advert was a false statement of fact and you relied on that advert in making the purchase. You then need to show that the false statement induced you to enter the contract.
 
MT could argue that they did not know that the statement was false and this may afford them a defence although you could still potentially argue negligent misrepresentation or fraudulent misrepresentation. If misrepresentation is proven at court then the contract is void and you are entitled to a refund.
 
The law of misrepresentation is too detailed to explain in full here and I suggest you do your research and consider a small claims court action.

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