Putnam's Handy Law Book for the Layman

Warranty. - The law, assuming that the purchaser knows or can find out the quality and worth of things, does not make an implied warranty of them generally. The legal maxim is, "Let the purchaser beware." He must take care of himself. In many cases, though, he does obtain a warranty. He must, however, distinguish between this and a mere representation. It may be difficult to draw the line always, but it exists. A statement that is not intended as a warranty, made simply to awaken the buyer's interest in the thing for sale, is not a warranty. Nor does the law imply a warranty from the payment of a full price. Formerly, when a commodity was adulterated, it could be returned, and the courts became sorely troubled to defend an adulteration. More recently, statutes have cleared away the difficulty, and are a great protection to buyers. In many cases, doubtless, they know more about the quality and condition of the things they buy than the inexperienced salesmen who are behind the counters, so they need no protection from the law; when they do need it a warranty may serve [261]a good purpose. In articles concerning which the seller does possess a superior knowledge, precious stones, drugs, medicines, and the like, the modern law has raised an implied warranty for the buyer's protection. In this class of cases the buyer and seller do not deal on equal terms. The vendor is professedly an expert.

In a sale of food there is no longer an implied warranty of fitness, unless the buyer expressly or by inspection acquaints the seller with the purpose of the purchase and unless it appears that the buyer relies on the seller's skill and judgment. Even then, if the buyer has examined the goods and has discovered a defect, there is no warranty. The burden of showing that he has made known his purpose and that he has relied on the seller is on the purchaser who claims the existence of an implied warranty.

There is another implied warranty, that of the seller's title, when he is in possession of the goods. This is limited to persons who are acting for themselves, and not agents, trustees, officers of the law, who are acting for others. An innocent purchaser of goods, therefore, for a good consideration obtains a good title, even from a vendee who has obtained them by fraud, as against the original vendor. This rule, though very broad, does not prevent a lawful owner from recovering his property. Thus, if a farmer's oxen were stolen and the thief should sell them as his own, and the purchaser should pay for them, nevertheless the farmer could recover them. The only exception to this rule is negotiable paper. This is made in order to surround it with greater protection.

Where goods are sold by sample there is a warranty that the goods will be like the sample, but there is no warranty of the sample itself. In one of [262]the well-known cases hops were sold by sample, and after the hops had been delivered the discovery was made that they had been injured by heating. The buyer sued though failed to recover anything, for it was proved that they were like the sample, which had been shown several months before, and at that time the heating had not begun. As they were sold at the earlier period, their condition at the time of the delivery did not affect the sale. See Deceit; Sale.


Do It Yourself Legal Forms
Law for the Laymen - Warranty
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