It’s always an exciting moment when you get a shiny new piece of equipment for the farm. Whether it’s a tractor, quad bike or combine harvester you expect your new beast will work as described to do the job. But what happens when it doesn’t?
Like most of us, you could easily assume that if it breaks down when it’s only relatively new then you’re covered in the same way you are if you buy a new TV or a car or a mower – by the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). When I walk out of a store with my new gadget I’m incredibly relaxed that I don’t have to comb the small print of a deal because I know the CGA protects my purchase.
Unfortunately, the CGA is unlikely to cover purchases of farm machinery/equipment purchased for the business that is your farm. The Sale of Goods Act 1908 may provide you with some protection – but given that it’s over 100 years old, out of date and can be very easily contracted out of, you certainly shouldn’t rely on this. The protection (if any) that you will receive for your purchase will most likely be governed by the contract of sale itself. In many cases that will take the form of a standard set of terms and conditions that are provided somewhere in the store, on a website or in the pages and pages of documentation that are provided to you at the time of purchase. So for these purchases of farm machinery and equipment the small print in the contract can have a very big impact.
Some farm suppliers have their own standard terms of trade that pass the onus for defective goods from them back to the manufacturer (who may well be overseas and therefore very hard for you to chase) – so they don’t personally stand behind the goods they sell at all. Some retailers use language contracting them out of warranties that is as strong as ‘excluded to the fullest extent that it is lawful to do so’. The wording of the small print is therefore vital if you’re making a large equipment or machinery purchase.
Okay, so now I’ve got you checking the small print, but what else can you do to protect yourself?
I recommend you ask what happens if something goes wrong and clarify who you’d deal with and what they’d do. If a retailer isn’t prepared to stand behind the farm machinery and equipment at least you know and can make a choice with your eyes wide open.
Contact our Commercial Team today to discuss how we can assist you.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances.