Second hand goods and warranty question.

  J Smith 18:24 21 Jun 2013


I was wondering where I stand under the sales or goods act on a second hand item I purchased a few months ago which as recently become faulty.

In a nutshell I purchased a PC graphic card from a private seller, the graphic card was about 12 months old when he sold it to me and was in great working order and worked fine in my PC for five months or so.

However, the item as recently died, which of course is no fault of the seller, but I was wondering under UK consumer law if I would be entitled as a second hand purchaser to return the item to the manufacturer for a repair or replacement (No original receipt) as it clearly states on the box it as a 3 year manufactures warranty.

I'll be grateful for any advice.

  Forum Editor 18:57 21 Jun 2013

The first thing to say is that a manufacturer's warranty only covers faults in manufacture - it will not be any good as far as wear and tear is concerned. The seller may have told you the card was 12 months old, but do you have any means of verifying that?

In general terms a second-hand purchase is protected in the same way as that of a new product, provided you buy from a retailer. If you buy from a private individual however, the regulations are different - the transaction is classed as a private sale, and the goods you buy must only be correctly described, and be the legal property of the seller. If you were told the card was 12 months old, that's all it has to be, there's no assumption of it being fit for purpose - that is for you to determine. The old adage of caveat emptor applies.

In your own words, the card "was in great working order and worked fine in my PC for five months or so." You have no recourse to the seller, and you obviously acknowledge that fact.

The manufacturer has no contract with you (or with the first owner), so there's no liability in law there - the manufacturer's warranty is in addition to your legal rights, so you'll be in uncharted waters; you may be lucky and find that the maker will help out, but I wouldn't bank on it. You have nothing to lose by trying, so why not give it a go?

  J Smith 22:33 21 Jun 2013

Thank you for your replay 'Forum Editor' and very nicely put too.

Yes, I pretty much thought it would be a long shot, and like you say there's no harm in contacting the manufacturer, who knows, its not unheard of for manufacturers to care about customer relations as well as their profits.

As for the age of the card its about right, I believe the HD 79xx series cards started to appear late 2011 early 2012, not that it matters.

Anyhow, thanks again.


  spuds 10:54 22 Jun 2013

" In general terms a second-hand purchase is protected in the same way as that of a new product, provided you buy from a retailer"

I don't consider that is quite correct, because if a retailer makes it quite clear that the item is second-hand, with or without imperfections, they can offer their own terms of sale.

I had an 'incident' a few years ago with Staples and Medion regarding "second-hand goods", and that event became very time consuming and costly to resolve. With a few headaches and frayed actions in between.

In that incident, I wanted a computer monitor urgently, and decided to use the local Staples store. Saw a Medion monitor on display that fitted the bill. This item was not powered up, but just on display, like most items Staples sells or any other sales outlet wanting to sell goods. After making the purchase I was informed by the sales assistant that the monitor was the only model in stock at the time, they could not find any more in the storeroom. This seemed a normal sale to me, but on packing the item it was found that the instruction book was missing, everything else was intact. Due to the instruction book missing, Staples gave a small discount on the purchase price, which I think was 5%. I was an happy bunny.

Returned home and registered the monitor with Medion, and requested an instruction manual. I was asked why I wanted a manual, and I explained the circumstances, and Medion requested £5.00 for the replacement (photo-copied)manual, which I duly paid by credit/debit card. The 3 year warranty was registered and confirmed. Still a fairly happy bunny, even though I had now lost any discount given by Staples.

A few days later, I received notification from Medion that the warranty was "nil and void -there was no warranty - because the monitor was classed as second user or second hand". It got very complicated, time consuming and costly from there, dealing with Staples and Medion. To cut a very long story short. Of the original 3 year no quibble warranty, Medion accepted the first year and staples accepted the other two years, making the three year warranty back on track. Staples did tell me, that should the monitor fail, then in all likelihood, they would simply replace the monitor with anything else in stock "at about the same price", and not bother with a repair "because they had no facilities for this".

Perhaps a lesson to be considered and learned there. When is a new item classed as second user or second-hand, especially when warranties or guarantees are considered?.

Since that time, I do believe that consumer laws on auction items have also been revised, and at this very moment, further additions are being added to consumer laws in the UK, which will come into force later in the year or early next year?.

Apologies for a fairly lengthy post!.

  Forum Editor 18:55 22 Jun 2013

"I don't consider that is quite correct, because if a retailer makes it quite clear that the item is second-hand, with or without imperfections, they can offer their own terms of sale."

No, they can't, at least not if it means compromising the purchaser's rights under the law.

As I've already stated, if you buy a secondhand item from an established retailer you will be protected under the Sales of Goods Act in its entirety. This means that the goods must be of satisfactory qualify (as assessed by a reasonable person, bearing in mind the items are second-hand), as described by the seller and fit for purpose.

Obviously the item's quality is going to be a matter of judgement, which is why the law uses the 'as assessed by a reasonable person' qualification. That said, the retailer is bound by the terms of the Act, and if the sale was made online the consumer is protected by the Distance selling regulations as well.

A private seller is not legally bound in quite the same way, as I pointed out earlier.

  spuds 20:06 22 Jun 2013

Perhaps you can explain what "Even if the item's second-hand or reduced, it doesn't mean you get second-rate consumer rights, except where the seller pointed out the specific problem before you bought" in the above article?.

But you may have now covered that in your second paragraph at 6.55PM?.

The point I was trying to make or suggest "except where the seller pointed out the specific problem before you bought" and how that might have applied.

In my own example stated at 10.54AM, which I said "To cut a very long story short", neither Staples or Medion could agree on second-hand or second user (over a normal sales display item) and possibly how consumer law applies and how it applied to them?.

I would be the first to admit that I know little about consumer laws, but in some cases neither does the legal people who should. I think they refer to them as 'grey areas'?.

  Aitchbee 22:41 22 Jun 2013

I often buy 'second hand' electrical goods [including computers 'n' printers 'blind'], from my local downtown charity shop[s]. I am always told that I can return the item[s] if I find it/they to be faulty in any way but will not get a refund in cash, but may choose another item [or items] to the same value of the original purchase ... sometimes I don't bother to return faulty items 'cos my dosh is going to a good cause anyway. [although 10 quid is my limit, so to speak].

  spuds 22:49 22 Jun 2013


Have a look here

  Aitchbee 23:07 22 Jun 2013

Thanks spuds. I only go to ruputable charity shops and I know what to look out for, believe me! [ 30+ years experience ].

  Forum Editor 10:56 23 Jun 2013


I'm surprised to learn that you buy electrical goods from charity shops - many of them won't touch such goods because of the obvious safety risks involved.

I know someone who managed a shop for Oxfam for many years, and at one point she had a retired electrician who checked all electrical equipment before it was sold. Even that was discontinued eventually, and most Oxfam shops stopped accepting mains-operated electrical items some time ago.

  Aitchbee 12:28 23 Jun 2013

FE - one of the larger charity shops in the centre of Glasgow sells mostly electrical goods including large white items like washing machines, fridges, and oodles of very large TVs which are always on display ... it's like walking into a Comet store [I know they've closed down now].

All appliances have a green sticker on them saying 'Passed For Electrical Safety'.

PS. I've never had anything electrical acquired from charity shops 'blow up' or cause any harm to me or anybody else.

I do realise that other shops like Oxfam do not accept or sell electrical goods and I tend not to visit them very often.

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