Consumer contracts analysed and explained

Expansys’ contract explained and analysed


Expansys's terms and conditions are quite detailed, and a mixture of legal language typical of business-to-business contracts and wording suitable for consumer deals. Also some information is repeated and there are paragraphs which cover the same matter (such as returns) more than once but are contradictory.

However some wording is not suited to consumer transactions (regarding returns when there is a fault). Particularly where it is based on the assumption that Expansys is not responsible for faults in goods if the fault is not notified soon enough to Expansys.

There is some general wording (that consumer's rights are not affected) which is perhaps designed to deal with this point. But this general cop out wording that some companies use to not have to go through the effort of specifying which of their terms and conditions apply to consumers and those that do not. The problem with having such wording is that a consumer who does not know her or his rights might accept what Expansys say that when there is a fault with goods that all Expansys is responsible for is arranging for a repair on behalf of the consumer.

The terms and conditions are one sided in favour of Expansys. This is because

1. it is up to Expansys to decide whether they will sell you the goods (they decide when there is a binding contract)

2. they do not have to keep to whatever price they put on their website or elsewhere (but if they do not wish to sell you the goods at the price quoted when you place an order they will cancel your order);

3. they do not have to keep to anything they say about stock levels or delivery dates or times. These are merely estimates

4. they do not accept liability for faults in goods if notified to Expansys in short time period.

Where to find Expansys' terms and conditions for the sale of goods?


The terms and conditions of sale found throughout this page.

Questions Answers Where
Who am I am buying the goods from? Expansys UK Ltd

A company existing in England

Paragraph 1.1 and 22 third paragraph
I have placed my order. Does Expansys have to sell me the goods? No.

When you press the [ ] button, all that happens is that you are asking Expansys to sell the goods. At this point Expansys not have any obligation to you.

Expansys will send two emails when you place an order. All that is happening is that they are saying to you, “we have received your request, but we are no obligation at anytime, ever, to sell the goods you want”.

Expansys will only have to sell you the goods you want when it dispatches the goods to you. When they do so, only at that point will there be a contract between you and Expansys

Paragraphs 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3
When will I have to pay for the goods I order? If you use a credit card you will not need to pay until Expansys are send you the goods you have ordered. Nothing is said about other forms of payment (such as debit cards).

See Comments below.

Paragraph 3.4
Does Expansys have to stick to the price stated at the time you placed your order? No.

If there is an "error" after you have placed order, Expansys will contact you to allow you to change your order based on the correct information

If you choose not to do so the order will be cancelled.

But also see Comments below

Paragraph 3.1
Expansys says the goods are in stock before I ordered. After I ordered they are not in stock. Can I do anything about this? Essentially no.

They state that "All items are subject to stock availability"

As Expansys does not have to commit itself until they send the goods to you, there is little that you can do about this.

Paragraph 4.3
Expansys says that my goods will be with me by a certain date (or be despatched by a certain date). They have not turned up. Can I do anything about this? Nothing, initially.

Why? Expansys do not guarantee delivery on any day they specify, and they do not accept liability for deliveries made outside "this timescale"

According to Expansys you need to wait 28 days after the goods are sent to you. Then you can ask for a refund or ask for a replacement. However there is a classic case of sloppy drafting in paragraph 4.5, see Comments below.

See [your rights when you buy and services online]

Paragraph 4.2, 4.5
I received faulty goods. They also caused damage to my other possessions and I had to take time off work to deal with it. Does Expansys have to pay? Possibly.

Expansys attempts to exclude all liability for such losses. For consumers this is unlikely to be acceptable (fair).

Paragraph 14.2, 14.4
Can Expansys change the terms and conditions on which they sell to you? Yes (possibly)

See Comments below.

Paragraph 7.2
What law applies? Why is it important? When you enter into a contract with Expansys, they choose the legal system that applies to the contract between you and them.

Contracts between you and Expansys are made under English law.

Paragraph 26


Right for Expansys to correct “errors”

Expansys state that if the make an error in the details the provide on their website, they are free to change them. And if the error is discovered after you place your order you have the option of either continuing the order based on the new "corrected" details or cancelling the order.

This leaves open the question whether there is not an error but Expansys have changed something after you placed your order (eg Expansys just want to increase the price) and whether you can do anything about it. As Expansys, like most retailers, decide when they will accept an order.

Returns and refunds and replacements

Expansys manage to provide some classically sloppy drafting in this paragraph. What they are saying, because of the way they have written the sentence is to say:

If the goods are sent to you, but they do not arrive within 28 days then you can either:

(a) ask for a refund; or

(b) ask for a replacement but only after a further condition is satisfied: Expansys have carried out an investigation with their courier.

Ie if the goods do not turn up after 28 days then if you ask for a refund you can get a refund. But if you ask for a replacement after the goods do not turn up then Expansys can delay things even further by carrying out an investigation with their courier.

Most probably what they intended to say what if the goods fail to turn and after 28 days and after Expansys have carried out an investigation with their courier then you get a refund or a replacement.

Whichever way you look at it the wording is likely to be unacceptable if delivery or the original goods or a replacement takes place more than 30 days. This is because of the [Distance Selling Regulations]. It is also likely to fall foul of other consumer legislation, as worded there is no time limit on how long the investigations by Expansys (not even a commitment to do so in a timely manner or over a reasonable period.

Right of Expansys to change it terms and conditions

The choice of wording used is very poor ("7.2 We aim to offer a top quality service at the best price possible, to do this we need to reserve the right to change the above policies at any time."). It talks about policies (not terms and conditions) and appears under a heading for "privacy" and refers to the policies "above" policies, but is only half way down the document, when many terms and conditions follow. The word "policy" is not conclusive (possibly) in itself. This is another example of sloppy drafting.

Even if this paragraph in the agreement concerns the terms and conditions of contracts entered into with Expansys, it will be unfair for Expansys to make a change after it has entered into a contract with a consumer. See [Why this is so?].

The alternative view is that the wording they use does not mean that they can change the terms and conditions of a contract after it is entered into. Accordingly

When do I have to pay?

Expansys provide another example of sloppy drafting. Apparently you only pay when the goods are dispatch as long as you pay by credit card. The timing of payments made by other means (debit card, PayPal) is not specified.

Is this what Expansys meant?