Bought a ‘lemon’ online? What are your legal options?Hidden Defects


It is often the case that many of the problems that arise in relation to these transactions is a result of some ‘hidden defect’ which affects the value or use of the product. Should a product with a hidden-defect be purchased in good faith by a purchaser who was unaware of it, then a remedy will exist.

The defect should not be apparent on a simple viewing of the product, and this defect should be sufficient to make the use of the product inappropriate for it’s intended use or reduce it’s value to the purchaser in such a way that the buyer would not have bought it if aware of the defect or would have offered less money.

The Civil Code provides that the seller will not be liable if the defect was manifest i.e. obvious or if the buyer happens to be an expert who ought to be aware of such defects Of course it must be possible to demonstrate that the defect occurred before the transaction took place.

Should the seller be shown to have been aware of the defect in the product yet not made the buyer aware, then in addition to a return of money/reduction in the purchase price the buyer may claim damages.

Finally, it is important to reiterate that the time limit for bringing an action under this area of the Civil Code is six months from the date of purchase.

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