At the beginning of occurrence of mankind, there was no necessity of settlement of the relations connected to sale and purchase. It occurred because there was no such wide spectrum of the goods (services) offered to the person. Eventually, all began to vary. The person has learned to simplify the life, using necessary products, services. According to one of economic laws which say, that requirements of the person in process of their satisfaction constantly grow, the individual indefatigably increased quantity of the goods and services. Through certain time, necessity of settlement of a revolution of this side of a public life has appeared. And this necessity is objective. Suppose you are buying a television set. Can you be sure that the set you take home will be of the same type and quality as the one you have looked at in the store? If the TV breaks down after you have bought it, who should pay for the repair you, the shop or the manufacture? What should you do if you are not satisfied with the repair or with the fee that the engineer charges? If you are very unlucky and the set catches fire, who should pay for any damage to your house? These are questions consumer law.
Each state made the big works on research of problems of the market, found optimum ways of the decision of questions. Developed the bills adequate to modern conditions of a life. But, in connection with that each country has the way of development, accordingly, and the laws regulating the relations of consumers and sellers are various.
In the given work, I shall try to illuminate in the generalized kind corresponding conditions legal relations sellers and buyers in Russia and in foreign countries.
The law and consumers: the international view
Anyone who buys goods or services, whether an individual shopper or a large business, is a consumer. However, consumer law is mostly concerned with the rights of private individuals. Consumer right is not a new concept. Pre-industrial societies throughout the world have imposed punishments on traders who overcharge or otherwise deceive their customers, even if they make honest mistakes. Bakers in Medieval England were so worried about the laws against selling underweight bread that they developed the custom of adding an extra roll free to a batch of twelve. Even today the expression «a baker's dozen» means thirteen of something, not twelve.
In the last thirty years, consumer law has grown at an unprecedented rate and is often studied as a branch of law in its own right. The principles of contract and tort are particularly relevant to consumer matters, but in addition to these, new legislation is passed every year to clarify the law and deal with specific problems.
Not surprisingly, consumer law has grown most quickly in wealthier industrialized countries where people are accustomed to asserting their rights and have a wide range of information available to them. In Britain, the magazine Which? has been publishing independently researched information about products, services and legal rights for thirty years, and popular television programs discuss consumer complaints. If a discontented consumer is forced to take legal action, there are judicial institutions which enable him or her to do this without spending a lot of money. In developing countries where manufactures often have low profit margins, consumers often have to accept lower standards unless they are rich or have important friends. But there are changes here, too. The Chinese government, for example, has responded to a growing demand for better quality goods by setting up special courts to deal with complaints.
It is necessary to note, that the legislation of the western countries in the field of consumer relations has practical character. All instructions of the law are embodied in a life. The consumer has rights not formal, but real. About it speak set of examples. One of them is resulted below.
Ms. Hinchen leased a new 2003 Ford Explorer from Fritts Ford on January 15, 2003. The gross capitalized cost of the vehicle was $45,292.52. Shortly after leasing the vehicle, she began to experience electrical problems, including an inoperable trip meter, the gas gauge registering incorrectly, illumination of a tire fault lamp, inoperable windows and an inoperable message center. She first returned to Ford authorized dealerships for her concerns with the electrical system in July 2003 when the vehicle had 13,416 miles on it. Despite repeated repair attempts by Ford dealers, Ms. Hinchen was required to return to the dealers on twelve separate occasions for these electrical problems. The case proceeded to jury trial in January 2005 in San Bernardino County. The Defendant, Ford Motor Company, contended that a non-party Ford Dealership installed the wrong instrument cluster on Ms. Hinchen first trip to the dealership in July 2003 which caused her continuing electrical problems. Ford further argued that the electrical problems present in the vehicle were corrected and repaired after the correct instrument cluster was put in the vehicle. The jury awarded Ms. Hinchen $15,312.10 and allowed her to keep the vehicle until the end of the lease.
All similar affairs were resolved for the benefit of consumers. To this promoted Lemon Law. This law has been developed by legal firm to strengthen rights of the consumer across the nation. The western representatives of jurisprudence try to develop laws which can be used in practice. These laws work on advantage of consumers.
A lot of consumer law is basic contract law. The consumer must show that has had a contract with the supplier of goods or services, showing that the supplier is in breach of this agreement, and convince the supplier that he would have a good chance of winning if he took the case to court.
Contracts between are businesses are usually full of detailed agreements about who should supply what, when, where and at what price, but every day transactions involving private individuals are more informal.
The consumer must show that a contract has been implied by law. To help him there are consumer law implying certain terms into consumer agreements. In English law, for example, the 1979 Sale of Goods Act implies a term that the seller has a right to sell. This protects the honest buyer from a seller who had no right to sell goods because they had been stolen. Another implied terms is that goods correspond to any description given to the buyer. The 1982 Supply of goods and Service Act implies similar terms regarding services. It also implies that services be provided with reasonable care at a reasonable cost and within a reasonable time. In deciding what is reasonable an English court will refer to similar previous cases. However, the most important guideline is usually common sense in the context of the transaction in question.
Where goods are concerned, the implied terms are conditions. This means that the buyer has the right to discharge the contract to refuse the goods if the terms are breached. He may also be entitled to damages. But where services are concerned, the implied terms are intermediate stipulations. This means that the consumer may only refuse the services if this is reasonable in the circumstances. The court may decide that he must accept work which has been done, but award him damages where the work has been done badly or too slowly or at too high a cost.
A difficult problem in consumer law is deciding who is responsible when goods are lost in delivery or delivered late. If no express agreement has been made about this, the Sale of Goods Act provides complicated rules. In general, the buyer has no responsibility until the time he takes possession of the goods. If goods arrive late he may be able to discharge the contract (refuse delivery) if he can show that time was of the essence (of vital importance). Sometimes this is implied by the nature of the transaction for example, a contract to deliver fresh food or newspapers. In other cases, the consumer may make time of the essence by specifying a time for delivery.
Another difficult problem is that of exemption clauses. These are warnings to the consumer by the supplier that no responsibility will be accepted in the case of loss, damage or injury. For example, dry-cleaning businesses often have notices on a wall or on the back of tickets refusing responsibility for damage to clothes. Sports clubs warn that they are not liable if members injure themselves using their equipment.
The law about exemption clauses varies from country to country, but in general it is important for the consumer to know that not all such clauses are valid. In Britain and the US, for example, a party trying to avoid responsibility must show that the exemption clause was part of the contract with the customer and that it covered the problem in question. The clause is more likely to be part of the contract if it is and a document signed by the customer or was written in a place all customers could read it.
Responsibility for loss or damage or loss can only be avoided if this would be deemed reasonable.
One of the fastest-growing areas of consumer law is product liability responsibility for damage or injury caused by faulty goods. During the 1960s, a series of cases in the US established the principle that consumers need only to show damage, effect, and a relation between the two.
In Japan, consumers still have to prove not only that there was a defect leading to damage, but that this was a result of the producer's clear negligence. Consumers complain that it is extremely difficult for them to win cases, partly because rules of technological secrets allow comp