Q&As

Can a company restrict a consumer from going directly to subcontractors that the company uses in order to supply the goods (in other words, can the consumer cut out the company and get the goods directly from a subcontractor)?

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Produced in partnership with Lynne Counsell of 9 Stone Buildings
Published on LexisPSL on 29/03/2018

The following Commercial Q&A produced in partnership with Lynne Counsell of 9 Stone Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can a company restrict a consumer from going directly to subcontractors that the company uses in order to supply the goods (in other words, can the consumer cut out the company and get the goods directly from a subcontractor)?
  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015
  • Unfair terms
  • Summary

Can a company restrict a consumer from going directly to subcontractors that the company uses in order to supply the goods (in other words, can the consumer cut out the company and get the goods directly from a subcontractor)?

In these circumstances, there would be two contracts—that between the consumer and the company as contractor and that between the company and its subcontractor. The issue is therefore whether the company can insert a clause in its terms and conditions with the consumer that the consumer is prohibited from dealing directly with the subcontractor.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015

The legal position is governed by statute, namely the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015) and whether such a term restricting the consumer in this way is enforceable under CRA 2015. For an overview of CRA 2015, see Practice Note: Consumer Rights Act 2015—summary. CRA 2015 received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015 and clarified and consolidated the existing muddled consumer legislation on unfair terms which had previously been contained in the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

CRA 2015 applies to contracts between a trader and consumer. Under CRA 2015, s 2 a ‘trader’ means a person acting for purposes relating to that person’s trade, business, craft or profession. A ‘consumer’ means an individual acting for purposes that are wholly or

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