The doctrine of Caveat Emptor & its exceptions


Caveat Emptor is a fundamental principle governing the law of sale of goods; it means “Let the buyer beware”. In other words, it is no part of the seller’s duty in a contract of sale of goods to give the buyer an article suitable for some particular purpose, (or) of a particular quantity, unless the quantity (or) fitness is made an express term of the contract. The person who buys goods must keep his eye open, his mind active, and should be conscious while buying the goods. If he makes a bad choice, he must suffer the consequences of lack of skill and judgment in the absence of any misrepresentation (or) guarantee by the seller.

The doctrine of Caveat Emptor has certain important exceptions they are following:-

1. Fitness for buyer’s purpose: Where the buyer expressly (or) by implication, makes known to the seller the particular purpose for which he needs the goods and depends on the skill and judgment of the seller whose business is to supply goods of that description, in such a case there is an implied condition that the seller must supply the goods shall be reasonably fit for that purpose.

2. Sale under a patient (or) trade name: If the buyer purchases an Article under its patient (or) other trade name and relies on seller skills and judgment which he makes known to him, in such a case there is no implied condition that the goods shall be reasonably fit for any particular purpose.

3. Merchantable Quality: Where the goods are brought from a seller who deals in goods of that description whether he is the manufacturer (or) producer (or) not, there is an implied condition that the goods are of merchantable quantity.

4. Usage of trade: An implied condition as to quality (or) fitness for a particular purpose may be annexed by the usage of trade.

5. Consent by fraud: Where the consent of the buyer, in a contract of sale, is obtained by the seller by fraud (or) where the seller knowingly conceals a defect which could not be discovered on a reasonable examination. In such a case the doctrine of caveat emptor does not apply.

6. In the case of eatables and provisions in addition to the implied condition of merchantability, there is an implied condition that the goods shall be wholesome.

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