LEGAL PERSPECTIVE: Let The Buyer Beware

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Dr. AbdelGadir Warsama – Legal Counsel
Asia 728x90

There are legal principles governing sale of goods, however, we refer to famous doctrine from the Roman legal principles caveat emptor” let the buyer beware, which applies specifically on sale of goods. Sale of goods contract definition is “a contract by which the seller transfers or agrees to transfer the property in goods to the buyer for consideration called the price.” Legally speaking, in sale of goods contracts, there is an implied condition, that the seller has a right to sell the goods. Moreover, the seller should have the right to sell when the property is to pass to the buyer without any difficulties. If the seller cannot pass goods or the rights of ownership to the buyer for any reason, he will be liable for breach of a condition.

A contract for sale of goods, normally, implies many warranties that, the goods are free from any charges of encumbrances, in other words, they are free from any sort of third party rights, not made known to the buyer before concluding the contract and, also, that the buyer will enjoy quiet possession of the goods. In case the contract for sale of goods is by description, there is an implied condition that the goods will correspond with the description. If the buyer does not see the goods directly, as from catalogue or internet, we could say that there has been sale by description. The description of the goods may cover many matters such as size, quality, quantity, weight, ingredients, origin or how they are packed. The slightest departure from the description given by the seller will entitle the buyer to reject the goods for breach of a condition of the contract.

There is an implied condition that the goods are of merchantable quality. Merchantability condition always applies, except to the extent of defects which are brought to the attention of the buyer before the

contract is made or in the instances that defects in the goods are of a type that ought to have been noticed by the buyer if he has examined the goods. Goods are of “Merchantable quality” if they are fit for the purpose for which goods of that kind are bought, as it is reasonable to except having regard to any description applied to them. Goods, by all means, do not have to measure up to an absolute standard of quality. Quality standards, are different in relation to each case and quality requirements as assessed accordingly. If the buyer specifies particular purpose for which he requires the goods, the required goods in this case, must be suitable for the purpose. In all cases if the buyer has any special requirements they must be made known to the seller.

According to the doctrine of caveat emptor, there is an obligation on the buyer to take required standard of care when buying goods. As explained, there are express and implied conditions or warranties on the seller of the goods, however, the buyer is required also to take the normal necessary precautions that are supposed to be taken by any reasonable man in such instances. Carefulness and full care shall be taken by the buyer to the same degree required from the seller.

Source: Dr. AbdelGadir Warsama / Africanewsanalysis


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