Tuesday, 15 February 2022





The doctrine of Caveat Emptor is an integral part of the Sale of Goods Act. It translates to “let the buyer beware”. This means it lays the responsibility of their choice on the buyer themselves. It is specifically defined in Section 16 of the act “there is no implied warranty or condition as to the quality or the fitness for any particular purpose of goods supplied under such a contract of sale.”

A seller makes his goods available in the open market. The buyer previews all his options and then accordingly makes his choice. Now let’s assume that the product turns out to be defective or of inferior quality. This doctrine says that the seller will not be responsible for this. The buyer himself is responsible for the choice he made.

So, the doctrine attempts to make the buyer more conscious of his choices. It is the duty of the buyer to check the quality and the usefulness of the product he is purchasing. If the product turns out to be defective or does not live up to its potential the seller will not be responsible for this.


A bought a horse from B. A wanted to enter the horse in a race. Turns out the horse was not capable of running a race on account of being lame. But A did not inform B of his intentions. So, B will not be responsible for the defects of the horse. The Doctrine of Caveat Emptor will apply.


Fitness for buyers’ purpose [Section 16(1)]

Section 16(1) of the said Act provides that in situations where the seller is aware either expressly or by necessary implication of the purpose for which a buyer needs to purchase a specific product, further, the goods are of such description which the seller supply in his ordinary course of business and by relying upon the judgment and skill of the seller, the buyer purchases that product, then the goods should be in accordance with the purpose. In other words, this section explains the circumstances where the seller has an obligation to supply the goods to the buyer as per the purpose for which he intends to buy the goods.

Sale under Trade Name [Proviso to S. 16(1)]

In some cases, a buyer purchases goods not by relying on the skill and judgment of the seller but by relying on the product’s trade name. In such cases, it would be unfair that the seller is burdened with the responsibility of quality. The proviso to Section 16 deals with such cases. It provides that: 

“Provided that, there is no implied condition as to fitness for any particular purpose in the case of a contract for the sale of a specified product under its patent or other trade names.

Merchantable quality [Section 16(2)]

The second most important exception to the rule of Caveat emptor is incorporated by Section 16(2) of the Act. The Section imposes a duty upon the dealer to deliver the goods of merchantable quality.

Section 16(2) states that there is an implied condition that when goods are purchased by description from a seller who deals in the goods of that description, the goods shall be of merchantable quality.

Conditions implied by trade usage [Sec. 16(3)]

Section 16(3) gives statutory force to the conditions implied by the usage of a particular trade. It states: “An implied condition or warranty as to the quality or fitness for any particular purpose may be annexed by the usage of trade.”

Fraud or Misrepresentation by the Seller:

This is another immense distinctive case. If the vendor gets the consent of the customer by coercion, principle won't have an impression. furthermore, if the vendor conceals any material flaws of the things that square measure during this means found on nearer analysis nevertheless the customer won't be ready. within the 2 cases, the vendor is the responsible party.

Sale by Description and Sample:

If the arrangement is finished through a model equally as a portrayal of the factor, the client won't be reliable if the merchandise do not take once the model even as the depiction. By then the commitment can fall determinedly on the vendor.

Goods sold by Description:

At the instant that the customer buys the things dependent on the portrayal there'll be associate degree exception. If the merchandise does not organize with the portrayal, in such a case the vendor is going to be in danger for the things.


It tends to be closed from the above investigation that the standard of caveat emptor is gradually getting away and is being taken over by the ensuing guideline of caveat venditor, the progressions being credited to a more consumer arranged market wherein business transactions are being energized. Such a change, won't just assistance make a proper harmony between the rights and commitments of the seller and the buyer. However, it ought to be noticed that if this sever of progress is taken excessively far, we may wind up in recording transactions because of the methodology at that point turning out to be incredibly favorable to buyer who may abuse the protection under law.

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