The Doctrine of Privity and Consumerism: To Be or Not To Be
Hazlina Shaik Md Noor Alam
Faculty of Law, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
A person can only be sued in contract if there is a contract between him and the person who is suing him. Therefore, if a manufacturer who sells a product to a retailer, who then sells it to a consumer, who is then injured by the product, the consumer could sue the retailer in contract because of the contract of sale between the retailer and the consumer. The consumer could not sue the manufacturer in contract, because there is no contract between the consumer and the manufacturer. This doctrine is known as privity of contract. On the other hand, if the consumer is able to successfully sue the retailer in contract, the retailer may then be able to sue the manufacturer on the basis of the contract of sale between the retailer and the manufacturer. In this way, a chain of liability is established, as each person in the chain can only be sued by those whom he has had a contract with, and likewise, can only sue those whom he has had a contract with.
Keywords: Contract, Consumer, Liability, Retail, Privity