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Consumer law: responsibility for goods lost in transit


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Got a new terms email from amazon, and I read the terms but came across this:

RISK OF LOSS
All purchases of physical items from Amazon are made pursuant to a shipment contract. This means that the risk of loss and title for such items pass to you upon our delivery to the carrier.

Given that the law, on both sides of the pond it seems, say that the contract and responsibilty lies with Amazon and their delivery partners until delivered, does it look like they are imposing terms that contravene applicable US and UK/EU consumer protection laws?

Edited by StringJunky
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I'm having a hard time finding info on this but I suspect that Amazon is simply moving the risk (via contract) from Amazon and you, to the carrier and you. Contracts are generally used to determine who carries the risk of loss.

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6 minutes ago, zapatos said:

I'm having a hard time finding info on this but I suspect that Amazon is simply moving the risk (via contract) from Amazon and you, to the carrier and you. Contracts are generally used to determine who carries the risk of loss.

AFAIK they aren't allowed to create a contract that breaches the law. Here's the UK law on it:

Sale of Goods Act 1979

32Delivery to carrier.

(1)Where, in pursuance of a contract of sale, the seller is authorised or required to send the goods to the buyer, delivery of the goods to a carrier (whether named by the buyer or not) for the purpose of transmission to the buyer is prima facie deemed to be a delivery of the goods to the buyer.

(2)Unless otherwise authorised by the buyer, the seller must make such contract with the carrier on behalf of the buyer as may be reasonable having regard to the nature of the goods and the other circumstances of the case; and if the seller omits to do so, and the goods are lost or damaged in course of transit, the buyer may decline to treat the delivery to the carrier as a delivery to himself or may hold the seller responsible in damages.

(3)Unless otherwise agreed, where goods are sent by the seller to the buyer by a route involving sea transit, under circumstances in which it is usual to insure, the seller must give such notice to the buyer as may enable him to insure them during their sea transit; and if the seller fails to do so, the goods are at his risk during such sea transit.

[F1(4)This section does not apply to a contract to which Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 applies (but see the provision made about such contracts in section 29 of that Act).]

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14 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Where, in pursuance of a contract of sale, the seller is authorised or required to send the goods to the buyer, delivery of the goods to a carrier (whether named by the buyer or not) for the purpose of transmission to the buyer is prima facie deemed to be a delivery of the goods to the buyer.

How is that different than:

1 hour ago, StringJunky said:

All purchases of physical items from Amazon are made pursuant to a shipment contract. This means that the risk of loss and title for such items pass to you upon our delivery to the carrier.

 

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5 hours ago, StringJunky said:

AFAIK they aren't allowed to create a contract that breaches the law. Here's the UK law on it:

Sale of Goods Act 1979

32Delivery to carrier.

(1)Where, in pursuance of a contract of sale, the seller is authorised or required to send the goods to the buyer, delivery of the goods to a carrier (whether named by the buyer or not) for the purpose of transmission to the buyer is prima facie deemed to be a delivery of the goods to the buyer.

(2)Unless otherwise authorised by the buyer, the seller must make such contract with the carrier on behalf of the buyer as may be reasonable having regard to the nature of the goods and the other circumstances of the case; and if the seller omits to do so, and the goods are lost or damaged in course of transit, the buyer may decline to treat the delivery to the carrier as a delivery to himself or may hold the seller responsible in damages.

(3)Unless otherwise agreed, where goods are sent by the seller to the buyer by a route involving sea transit, under circumstances in which it is usual to insure, the seller must give such notice to the buyer as may enable him to insure them during their sea transit; and if the seller fails to do so, the goods are at his risk during such sea transit.

[F1(4)This section does not apply to a contract to which Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 applies (but see the provision made about such contracts in section 29 of that Act).]

The first paragraph quite explicitly states (highlighted by me in red) that delivery to the carrier is deemed to be delivery to the buyer. That's exactly what the Amazon T&Cs are saying, too.

The 2nd para qualifies this by saying that if the seller uses an inappropriate contract for delivery, for the goods involved, then the buyer can hold the seller responsible for any loss or damage.

 

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5 hours ago, exchemist said:

The first paragraph quite explicitly states (highlighted by me in red) that delivery to the carrier is deemed to be delivery to the buyer. That's exactly what the Amazon T&Cs are saying, too.

The 2nd para qualifies this by saying that if the seller uses an inappropriate contract for delivery, for the goods involved, then the buyer can hold the seller responsible for any loss or damage.

 

I'm confused. I wonder if the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2014 have superseded it.

Quote

Delivery and risk
o Unless the trader and consumer agree otherwise, delivery of goods
should be without undue delay and within 30 days.
o Risk passes from the trader to the consumer when the goods are
delivered unless the courier is one not offered or named by the trader
as an option, but chosen and arranged by the consumer. In this case
risk passes to the consumer when the item is delivered to the courier.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/429300/bis-13-1368-consumer-contracts-information-cancellation-and-additional-payments-regulations-guidance.pdf

 

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57 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

I'm confused. I wonder if the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2014 have superseded it.

 

Hmm, interesting.

 

I found this from Which, which refers to another piece of legislation, the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which seems to support your contention: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act-aKJYx8n5KiSl

So, indeed, I don't know how this is reconciled with the earlier Act, e.g. whether it repeals the relevant provisions of it, or how it can be reconciled, if at all, with Amazon's T&Cs. 

It looks as if you may need to find a lawyer specialising in consumer rights law, to get to the bottom of it. 

 

  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, exchemist said:

Hmm, interesting.

 

I found this from Which, which refers to another piece of legislation, the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which seems to support your contention: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act-aKJYx8n5KiSl

So, indeed, I don't know how this is reconciled with the earlier Act, e.g. whether it repeals the relevant provisions of it, or how it can be reconciled, if at all, with Amazon's T&Cs. 

It looks as if you may need to find a lawyer specialising in consumer rights law, to get to the bottom of it. 

 

  

I could pass it onto CAB to query it. I've read the exact point when risk passes  to the buyer is a contentious and complex subject in international sales

Edited by StringJunky
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As far as I can tell, Amazon is "trying it on".

If I buy something from them They choose and pay the carrier.

So they have a contract with the carrier.

I don't; I don't necessarily even know who the carrier is.

So, I have no claim against the carrier if the item does not arrive.
But I do have a contract with Amazon- they included delivery in their price.
They are liable if it doesn't turn up.

 

 

I invite you to consider what would happen if Amazon really was allowed to write that clause into their contract and have it stand up in court.

I would offer to be Amazon's sole carrier for all their goods- not a company; just me.

 

Amazon would pay me a lot of money and pass responsibility to me for delivering the goods, and I wouldn't even take a van round to their warehouse.

Amazon would be legally "exempt" because of their contract.
I'd have enough money to point out in court that the buyers didn't have a claim against me (see above).

 

After a while Amazon would realise that they didn't need to stock goods.

There aren't many ways to make amazon more profitable, but this would be one of them

 

However...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfair_Contract_Terms_Act_1977

 

 


 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

As far as I can tell, Amazon is "trying it on".

If I buy something from them They choose and pay the carrier.

So they have a contract with the carrier.

I don't; I don't necessarily even know who the carrier is.

So, I have no claim against the carrier if the item does not arrive.
But I do have a contract with Amazon- they included delivery in their price.
They are liable if it doesn't turn up.

 

 

I invite you to consider what would happen if Amazon really was allowed to write that clause into their contract and have it stand up in court.

I would offer to be Amazon's sole carrier for all their goods- not a company; just me.

 

Amazon would pay me a lot of money and pass responsibility to me for delivering the goods, and I wouldn't even take a van round to their warehouse.

Amazon would be legally "exempt" because of their contract.
I'd have enough money to point out in court that the buyers didn't have a claim against me (see above).

 

After a while Amazon would realise that they didn't need to stock goods.

There aren't many ways to make amazon more profitable, but this would be one of them

 

However...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfair_Contract_Terms_Act_1977

 

 


 

Interesting. Thanks. Yes, it would seem logical for the seller to be obligated because any query by the buyer to the carrier results in being told by them to take it up with the seller to query with that carrier. I felt too that Amazon were probably trying it on.

Edited by StringJunky
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14 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

I could pass it onto CAB to query it. I've read the exact point when risk passes  to the buyer is a contentious and complex subject in international sales

Yes, FOB, CIF, and so forth. A lot is to do with who insures the cargo, who arranges the freight, etc. I’ve forgotten most of it.

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27 minutes ago, exchemist said:

Yes, FOB, CIF, and so forth. A lot is to do with who insures the cargo, who arranges the freight, etc. I’ve forgotten most of it.

I'll have a look. Cheers.

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Got the same line in an email they sent me... Shipment contracts are an option under US law, not sure elsewhere.

What does it say under 'Applicable Law' section?

Edited by Endy0816
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@StringJunky

Thinking you must also be signed up with US Amazon (.com) and they just sent a standard TOS update.

The Amazon Europe Core SARL terms on (.co.uk) look more as you probably expect.

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44 minutes ago, Endy0816 said:

@StringJunky

Thinking you must also be signed up with US Amazon (.com) and they just sent a standard TOS update.

The Amazon Europe Core SARL terms on (.co.uk) look more as you probably expect.

That probably explains it. Thanks.

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I would think companies like Amazon are free to include any stipulations they want in their fine printed legalese.
And it will usually stick, until tested in court.

Then the class action lawuits begin.

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5 hours ago, MigL said:

I would think companies like Amazon are free to include any stipulations they want in their fine printed legalese.
And it will usually stick, until tested in court.

Then the class action lawuits begin.

Not if their legalese contravenes the local law where they trade. And anyway, a company like Amazon has no interest in breaking local law: it could cost them the right to trade there.

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7 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Tax law...?

Hoping Biden's plan for global minimum gets enough backing. Be good to stop the shenanigans.

 

On 7/21/2021 at 9:23 AM, StringJunky said:

That probably explains it. Thanks.

Welcome. Amazon's ecosystem is definitely bit weird when it comes to accounts.

Edited by Endy0816
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11 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Tax law...?

If they broke the law they could be done for tax evasion and fined.

What they and other multinational companies do is exploit, by perfectly legal means, the differences in tax regimes between countries. That's why Biden et al want to harmonise taxation - or at least set a minimum level - to reduce the ability of these companies to engage in (legal) tax minimisation by arranging for the bulk of their profits to be on the books of their entities in low tax countries. What they do is avoidance, not evasion.  

Ireland has benefitted hugely over the last couple of decades by offering low corporation tax to attract companies to arrange to generate their profits there. This can be done in various ways. One method is for the operating company in each country to have a service agreement with a service company in the same corporate group, with service fees set at a level that effectively makes the operating company make little money locally, while the service company becomes highly profitable. You put the service company in Ireland and, hey presto, most of your profit is only taxed at Ireland's rate.  All perfectly legal, so long as you can justify the service fee in some way. No doubt there are many other methods.    

Edited by exchemist
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