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The Regulations say that any public statements made by manufacturers, importers or producers (in addition to retailers) about the specific characteristics of the goods, particularly in advertising or on labeling, have to be factually correct – and form part of the retailer’s contract with the consumer. However, the retailer is not responsible for the statement if the retailer shows:

    • that for good reasons he was not aware of the statement
    • that it had been corrected in public before the conclusion of the sale
    • that the consumer could not have been influenced by the statement.

If a retailer could show that he was, for good reason, ignorant of the manufacturer’s claims then the consumer would not be able to seek redress from the retailer over the specific characteristic. An example could be erroneous claims made in a manufacturer’s foreign, or regional, advertising campaign that the retailer could not reasonably be expected to have come across.

If an erroneous speed of a washing machine had not been mentioned by the customer during the course of the sale, the customer could not seek redress if subsequently it did not spin as fast as they thought as it was not material to the decision to buy that particular product.

If the retailer argued that the claim had been corrected then this would probably prove convincing in court.

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