(1) A person seeking to sell a small business or an estate agent who—
(a) obtains the signature of a purchaser or of a person acting on behalf of a purchaser to any contract agreement or document in respect of a sale of a small business which is legally binding upon or intended legally to bind the purchaser; or
(b) accepts a deposit in relation to a sale of a small business—
shall before obtaining the signature or accepting the deposit give to the purchaser or to any person signing the contract agreement or document on behalf of the purchaser or to any person paying the deposit on behalf of the purchaser, in addition to the statement required to be given by section 51, a statement in writing in the prescribed form and containing the prescribed particulars and shall obtain from the person to whom the statement is given an acknowledgement in writing of the receipt of that statement.
S. 52(2) amended by No. 86/1994 s. 26.
(2) The statement shall be signed by the vendor of the business.
(3) If in purported pursuance of this section a statement is given which is not in the prescribed form or does not contain the prescribed particulars or which states any of those particulars inaccurately or if no statement at all is given pursuant to this section the purchaser may by notice in writing given to the vendor or to the estate agent—
(a) within three months after he first signs any contract agreement or document in respect of the sale; and
(b) before he takes possession of the business—
avoid the contract agreement or document, and in any civil proceedings arising out of or connected with the contract agreement or document the onus of proving that the statement was duly given shall lie upon the party so alleging.
S. 52(4) amended by No. 57/1989 s. 3(Sch. item 66.5).
(4) Upon the avoidance of a contract agreement or document under this section the vendor shall be liable for the repayment to the purchaser of any money paid by the purchaser under the contract agreement or document and the estate agent shall be liable for the repayment to the purchaser of such part of the money as was paid to him by the purchaser and the money shall be recoverable by the purchaser accordingly as a civil debt recoverable summarily in the Magistrates' Court or in any court of competent jurisdiction.
S. 52(5) amended by No. 57/1989 s. 3(Sch. item 66.5).
(5) Where an estate agent has under subsection (4) been required to pay and has paid any money to the purchaser that money, to the extent of any amount received by the vendor in respect of the transaction, shall be recoverable by the estate agent from the vendor as a civil debt recoverable summarily in the Magistrates' Court or in any court of competent jurisdiction unless the vendor proves to the satisfaction of the court that the failure to give a statement to the purchaser as required by this section or the failure to include in the statement the prescribed particulars or the inaccurate giving of those particulars was without his knowledge connivance or consent.
(6) Every contract or agreement made or entered into with intent, or the effect of which would be, to avoid or evade the operation of any provision of this section shall to the extent of the evasion or avoidance be absolutely void and of no legal effect.
S. 52(7) amended by No. 9945 s. 3(1)(Sch. 1 item 15).
(7) A vendor or an estate agent who, upon being so required under subsection (1), fails to give in respect of a sale of a business a statement in writing in the prescribed form and containing the prescribed particulars shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty of not more than 10 penalty units.
S. 52(8) substituted by No. 97/1987 s. 181(3), amended by No. 74/2000 s. 3(Sch. 1 item 43).
(8) This section does not apply to or in relation to the sale of any business in connection with which a licence or permit is in force under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 and which the purchaser could not lawfully carry on without a licence under that Act.