Saturday, 29 January 2022

Doctrine of Caveat Emptor

 Doctrine of Caveat Emptor


The caveat emptor rule, which means "let the buyer beware," has been replaced with the caveat venditor rule. Because of the changing conditions of modern trade and commerce, such a change was essential. Judges do not use the phrase caveat emptor too much these days. This philosophy is founded on the principle that once a consumer is happy with the acceptability of a product, he has no further right to reject it. The caveat emptor rule dates back to common law and has undergone significant revisions throughout time. The doctrine's exceptions began to expand over time as it took shape. The principle of Caveat emptor is explained in Section 16 of the Sale of Goods Act 1930 which states that there is no implied condition or warranty as to quality or fitness for any particular purpose of goods supplied.

The Mistake

Caveat emptor reigned in its absolute form at the time of its inception, but it was eventually classified as harmful to the development of commerce and trade. Due to the absence of the element of reasonable examination, the caveat emptor rule in its absolute form was extremely harmful to the buyer. As a result, a buyer would have no recourse against a seller who is aware of a latent fault but failed to inform the customer, and the buyer is unable to discover the defect (as it cannot be detected by reasonable examination). Another important reason for the caveat emptor rule's fallacy is the necessity to safeguard the buyer who buys products in good faith, that is, by relying on the seller's ability and judgement. As a result, the regulation was weakened in order to give sufficient attention to the seller-buyer connection and to create an environment that encourages commercial transactions.

How it changed to Caveat Venditor?

 The rule of caveat emptor received a backlash for the first time in the case of Priest v. Last, where the buyer relied on the seller's ability and judgement and the buyer was allowed to reject the products for the first time. In this scenario, the customer trusted the seller's ability and judgement while purchasing a hot water bottle. It was discovered that if a buyer acquires an object based on the seller's expertise and judgement, the buyer will be able to reject it if there is a problem. This was the first time in common law that the buyer's reliance on the seller's judgement and skill was given such weight.

In Harlingdon & Leinster Enterprises Ltd v. Christopher Hull Fine Art Ltd, the buyer claimed that because the picture was not by the original painter, he had the right to reject it. So, where the buyer has more competence in a certain subject and is more reasonable than the seller, it was determined that it would be incorrect to claim that the buyer has the right to reject the purchased product. As a result, the seller is obligated to tell the customer of any faults in the items as well as information about how to use the goods.


The rule of Caveat emptor is being taken over by the rule of Caveat venditor and is dying a slow death. The shift is being implemented in order to establish a more consumer-oriented market that encourages commercial transactions. Such a shift will aid in the creation of a more consumer-friendly market, allowing a proper balance to be maintained between the buyer's and seller's rights and obligations. However, it should be cautioned that if this strategy is carried too far, it may become overly pro-buyer, and some people may end up abusing the legal protections.

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