The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force on 1 October 2015. From that date, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 became largely redundant for all ‘business to consumer’ sales.
One of the new rules is the ‘short term right to reject’ covered in Section 22 of the Act. By virtue of this Section, if a consumer complains of a fault with the goods (horses are classed as goods) in the first 30 days, they will be entitled to bring it back for a refund.
They can insist on a refund which you will be legally obliged to give. It is down to the consumer to show there is a fault and that it was present at the time of delivery.
This only applies in business to consumer sales (sales in the course of business) and not to private sales.
So far there has not been any reported case law dealing with the new short term right to reject and only time will tell in terms of case law setting precedents for the future. What I have seen as a Solicitor is that dealers are having to take the ‘right to reject’ seriously because it is more onerous than the previous Sale of Goods Act.
I have also noticed that sellers are insisting on horses being vetted before sale. This protects the seller as much as (if not more than) the buyer now since the buyer has to prove that the defect was present at the time of sale and so if the defect was not present at the vetting, then the vetting arguably assists the seller.
I said in my previous article of this new law that if you are a dealer (or selling in the course of a business) that you should take advantage of the pre-purchase vetting process and insist on purchasers having horses vetted before sale. The way I see things progressing in law due to the new Act, I maintain that sellers should insist on a vetting in all circumstances.