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        Product Liability: Who can be claimed against?

        A claim for loss caused by a faulty or defective product can be brought against either the seller or alternatively against the manufacturer of the product. Today we will be looking at bringing an action against the seller of a product.

        SELLER

        A seller is the body that distributes the product in the UK. For a retail product, this will often be a shop or supermarket. For medical devices, the seller will be seen as the doctor or hospital that injects or fits the product. An action against the seller can be brought either in breach of contract or in negligence.

        Consumer Rights Act 2015

        Let us first deal with breach of contract. Parliament has recently passed a landslide act in relation to consumer rights, appropriately named the ‘Consumer Rights Act 2015’, which creates implied terms that puts certain obligations on retailers. A key obligation is that the good is of reasonable quality and safety (s9 CRA 2015). If it can be shown that the good is not safe and that this has caused the consumer loss, whether in terms of personal injury or property damage, a claim in breach of contract can be brought against the retailer and damages recovered.

        Crucially, retailers are strictly liable for breach of contract. This means that regardless of whether they were actually at fault for the defect, or whether it was say the manufacturer’s fault, the seller will still be liable for damages.

        An action can also be brought against the seller for negligence. This is where the seller has fallen below the reasonable standard of care that should be expected, resulting in loss to a consumer. However, negligence requires a claimant to prove fault on behalf of the seller, a hurdle that is unnecessary in breach of contract.

        Generally, it is much simpler to bring actions for product liability against a shop, outlet store, doctor or hospital than against a large, foreign manufacturer. However, this is not always the case as we will see with our article on product liability claims against manufacturers.

        At the Specter Partnership Solicitors, our dedicated team of litigation solicitors have the skill and expertise to help you bring a product liability action.

        For more information on the product liability, visit www.gov.uk/guidance/product-liability-and-safety-law

        If you would like more information or to arrange a free, confidential consultation, please call us on 0207 251 9900, or email enquiries@specterpartnership.co.uk.