Cavendish Woodhouse Ltd v Wright: 8 Mar 1985

If a salesman in a shop makes representations to say that he could supply goods identical to a sort described, the description becomes attached to the goods delivered for the purposes of the Act, and if it is false, it is a false description. The first information alleged that the Appellants applied a false description to bedroom furniture by describing it as ‘identical’ to furniture previously shown to a Miss Crawley. The second that the Appellants had supplied to Miss Crawley bedroom furniture to which a false trade description was applied, namely ‘identical’ to furniture previously shown to her, contrary in this case to section 1(1)(b). Miss Crawley saw a bedroom unit marked ‘sold’. A salesman offered to supply her with a unit which was ‘identical’. The Crown Court had held that thereby he was making an assertion of existing fact, namely that an identical unit was in stock and could be supplied to her. This was untrue. ‘Turning to the second information, a different circumstance has to be contemplated. We have now to look at the actual supply of the furniture . . . When it arrived at her home it was anything but identical to that which she and her mother had examined. Mr Philpott says that that does not mean to say that it bore a false trade description. True it is that through some negligence or other wrong on the part of the appellants the article as promised was not supplied, but that falls into the realm, not of a false trade description as to an existing fact, but was merely a promise made by the appellants to supply something to the customer in the future…’ ‘What happened was, as found in the case, that the appellants did not supply to Miss Crawley an identical set of furniture. They did not disabuse Miss Crawley, at any time, either before the delivery, at the time of delivery, or, indeed, within a short time after delivery that what they had delivered was everything but identical to that which Miss Crawley had seen and approved at the appellants’ premises. In that situation it seems to me that the set of furniture delivered carried with it the description given to it at the time of the agreement for sale. That is the inevitable implication, in the absence of anything said by the appellants to the contrary – and nothing was. That being so, there clearly was an offence committed here seeing that the furniture actually delivered was not identical. Accordingly, I would hold that the Crown Court was also right in this instance to uphold the conviction of the appellants upon this second information.’ ‘It cannot, I think, be gainsaid that in circumstances such as these, where suppliers of goods have made such representations as I have so far been dealing with and made no attempt whatsoever to inform the customer that they have, for no matter what reason, had to make some alteration in what it is they have promised to supply, the trade description which they have attached to the goods at the time of the agreement for sale will be carried along with them as they are supplied by the seller to the customer.’
Watkins LJ
(1985) Tr L 40, [1985] CLY 3109, Times 08-Mar-1985
Trade Descriptions Act 1968 1(1) 18
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedShropshire County Council (David Walker) v Simon Dudley Limited Admn 17-Dec-1996
A customer’s description of the goods he required was a trade description for the future supply of those goods by the seller claiming to fulfil that specification. The trading standards officer appealed dismissal of his prosecution of the defendant . .
CitedDenard v Smith and Dixons QBD 1991
A Christmas Dixons were offering, both in their brochures and by a placard in the store, a computer, joystick and four software packages, including Nintendo games, all for andpound;149.95. A Mrs Grover decided to buy this from Dixons, her son being . .

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Updated: 11 May 2021; Ref: scu.192599