Bernstein -v- Pamson Motors (Golders Green) Ltd; QBD 1987

A car had been delivered to the buyer three weeks before the purported rejection. In the interval the purchaser had driven it 140 miles.
Held: The nature of the particular defect, discovered ex post facto, and the speed with which it might have been discovered, are irrelevant to the concept of reasonable time in s35 which is directed solely to what is a reasonable practical interval in commercial terms between a buyer receiving the goods and his ability to send them back, taking into consideration from his point of view the nature of the goods and their function, and from the point of view of the seller the commercial desirability of being able to close his ledger reasonably soon after the transaction is complete. The complexity of the intended function of the goods is clearly of prime consideration. What is a reasonable time in relation to a bicycle would hardly suffice for a nuclear submarine.
Rougier J: “In my judgment, the nature of the particular defect, discovered ex post facto, and the speed with which it might have been discovered, are irrelevant to the concept of reasonable time in s 35 as drafted. That section seems to me to be directed solely to what is a reasonable practical interval in commercial terms between a buyer receiving the goods and his ability to send them back, taking into consideration from his point of view the nature of the goods and their function, and from the point of view of the seller the commercial desirability of being able to close his ledger reasonably soon after the transaction is complete. The complexity of the intended function of the goods is clearly of prime consideration here. What is a reasonable time in relation to a bicycle would hardly suffice for a nuclear submarine.”

Court: QBD
Date: 01-Jan-1987
Judges: Rougier J
Statutes: Sale of Goods Act 1979 35
References: [1987] 2 All ER 220, [1987] BTLC 37
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