There are no specific guarantees that wholesalers use, although the goods you buy will usually have a manufacturers warranty which will be passed to you from the supplier once the transaction is made.
A wholesaler should be happy to replace faulty stock, although, legally, they are not bound to do so, unlike high street stores. Significantly, the regulations that amended the Sale of Goods Act did not cover wholesalers. This means that while shops are now duty-bound to give refunds or exchanges for faulty goods, wholesalers are not.
“The regulations only cover business to consumer transactions, so they (wholesalers) wouldn’t be relevant,” says Martyn Rapley of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). “However, the main requirements of the Sale of Goods Act, which are continuing, are certainly relevant.”
So it’s not all bad news if you have, for example, been sold a hundred solar-powered torches. The original Sale of Goods Act makes it clear that all products sold should be of satisfactory quality and serve the purpose for which they are intended.
Most reputable wholesalers will offer exchanges or refunds for faulty items, so just because the law now only recognises this right in retailers, this shouldn’t damage your chances of getting your money back or getting a decent replacement.
However, a word of warning. The new regulations shift the onus of proving the goods were faulty at the time of purchase to the seller – but only in regard to shops.
Wholesalers will still be able to demand that you prove the products were inadequate when you first bought them. Also, if you buy untested goods from a clearance warehouse, they will have no warranty at all and you’ll run the risk of having a damaged bank balance as well as damaged stock.