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Exceptions to the doctrine of Caveat Emptor

The doctrine of Caveat Emptor is however, subject to the following exceptions

Fitness for buyer’s purpose

When the buyer makes the seller aware of the purpose for which the goods are needed and relies upon the seller’s skill or judgment, there is an implied condition that the goods shall be reasonably fit for such purposes.



Raj placed an order for a cricket bat to be used with leather ball. The seller supplied the bat but the bat was broken as it can be used with rubber ball only. The bat supplied was unfit for the buyer’s purpose.

Merchantable quality

Where there is a contract of sale of goods by description and the seller is a dealer in such goods, and then such goods should be of merchantable nature and should not contain any latent defect.

Usage of trade

The implied conditions or warranties as to quality or fitness for a particular purpose may be attached by the custom or usage of trade. A custom may provide that a particular defect will amount to unfitness and the buyer can reject the goods.



Amar sold certain goods by auction, to Akbar. In case of sale by auction, it was a trade usage to declare any ‘sea damage’ in the goods. In this case, goods were sold without any declaration. Subsequently, the goods were found to be sea damaged. Akbar can reject the goods and claim damages.

Consent by fraud or concealment

When the consent of the buyer in a contract of sale, is obtained by the seller by fraud or when the seller knowingly conceals the defect, which could not be discovered on a reasonable examination (i.e., there is some latent defect), the doctrine of caveat emptor does not apply.

Sale by sample

When the goods are bought by sample, rule of Caveat Emptor does not apply if the bulk does not correspond with the sample and the buyer must have reasonable opportunity for inspecting the goods.

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