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Buying and Selling Goods Online – Terms and Conditions May Apply

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The High Court recently held in a dispute over business to business goods bought online that (1) buyers can be bound by the terms and conditions of a seller when purchasing goods online, which they  ought reasonably to have been aware of, even if they had not actually read them and (2) a no set-off clause in a seller’s standard terms and conditions satisfied the test of reasonableness under the Unfair Contract Terms Act.

The case concerned a claim for payment for generators sold online which the buyer sought to defend by alleging various breaches of contract by the seller.  The Buyer disputed the standard terms applied as they hadn’t agreed them (but were available to view on the seller’s website) and challenged the set off clause as unreasonable. The Court ordered the buyer to pay the purchase price for the goods by upholding the clause excluding the right for the seller to set off its counterclaim and found that they should have been aware of this term.

Ashley Wood, partner in the Dispute Resolution team comments “this case is a further example of the Court’s upholding terms of trading between businesses and applies common sense to developing online trading. It shows the importance for sellers to have properly drafted terms and conditions to assist recovery of debts and that the sellers should be able to prove incorporation where buyers have easy access to them when placing an order”.

Please feel free to contact Ashley Wood on 0114 2521429.

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