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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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We are a company providing services predominantly to the oil

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We are a company providing services predominantly to the oil and gas industry for safety systems. We are a SME formed approx. 5 years ago. One of our key customers would like us to manage all of their safety systems, however the original equipment manufacturer refuses to trade with us hence we cannot send repairs or purchase spares for the systems we support. In law is there an obligation to sell products and services, or are the manufacturers within their rights to refuse to trade with our company?

There are 2 issues here, the refusal to trade and the availability of spare parts.

I will cover spare parts first.

I’m afraid that in the UKand the EU, there is no legislation that states that spare parts have to be available for any period of time.

They used to be a voluntary agreement for the manufacturers of electrical domestic appliances that spares will be available for 6 years but now although will do is use best endeavours.

Although not relevant perhaps to your business, here it is from (for example) the British Compressed Air Society Ltd although this of course applies to any kind of equipment, not just compressed their equipment.

With regard to the refusal to supply, there is no statutory requirement for any business to trade with another business provided the refusal to trade is not prompted by any kind of prejudice such as race, sex, religion et cetera.

A business is free to sell or not sell to whoever or which ever entity it wishes.

If it is just the refusal to supply you, there seems no reason why your customer could not buy the spares although the manufacturer of the equipment is not even obliged to supply them.

It might not do their reputation any good if they refuse to supply spares but that’s not a legal issue.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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We can still exchange emails. Best wishes.


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