Last updated: 18 August 2023
Next review: 18 August 2024
Once a trader displays goods/services, an invitation for the customer to offer to purchase is made ("invitation to treat"). Only once an offer has been accepted, money changed hands, contract signed, does this then become a legally binding contract.
Useful guidelines for traders
- It is a criminal offence to restrict a consumer's statutory rights with notices such as "no-refunds"
- People injured by defective products may be able to sue you for damages
- Business names should be displayed and printed on documents such as receipts, orders and invoices
- Goods must be "as described" and not misrepresented
- Goods sold must be of a satisfactory quality and fit for the purpose they are intended unless the customer is informed prior to the sale and agrees to purchase
Trading at car boot sales
Are you a trader?
- You sell goods you specially buy to resell
- You regularly attend a sale
- You employ others to help
- You sell similar goods at other venues (from home, markets, in the street)
Answering yes to any of the above and you may be classed as a trader and bound by consumer law.
Genuine 'non-traders' are outside the bounds of consumer law but are still required to ensure goods are accurately described or be obliged to provide a refund, replacement or reduction in price.
Good practice for private sales
- Avoid selling electrical goods unless you are sure of it's from a reputable source
- Avoid clothing which may be inflammable (outside the flammability requirements) or pose a hazard (children's hood-cords)
- Check toys are safe to be used and remove sharp objects
- Check carefully and caution is needed when selling goods that have their own safety standards (prams/pushchairs, oil and paraffin heaters)