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Types of implied conditions

Following are the implied conditions which are contained in the Sale of Goods Act:

Conditions as to title Sec 14(a)

Title means ownership. Condition as to title is an important implied condition in every contract of sale. According to this condition, it is presumed that the seller has a valid title to the goods, i.e., he has the right to sell the goods. A seller would not have the right to sell when he is neither the owner nor the agent of the owner. If the title of the seller turns out to be defective, the buyer must return the goods and recover the price from the seller. The condition regarding seller’s title is very essential to protect the interest of innocent buyers.
This implied condition may be analyzed as under:
  • In case of sale, the implied condition is that the seller has the right to sell the goods, and
  • In case of an agreement to sell, the implied condition is that the seller will have the right to sell the goods at the time when the ownership is to pass from the seller to the buyer

Marsh bought a second hand car from Taylor, a car dealer. After a few months, the car was taken by the police as it was a stolen one and Marsh was forced to return the car to the true owner. Marsh could recover the full price from Taylor. In this case, there was a breach of condition as to title as Taylor had no right to sell the car.

Condition as to description Sec 15

Sometimes, the goods are sold by description. In such cases, the implied condition is that the goods shall correspond with the description. The term ‘correspondence with description’ means that the goods purchased by the buyer must be the same which were described by the seller. If subsequently, it is discovered that the goods do not correspond with the description, the buyer may reject the goods and claim the refund of the price, if already paid. Sale of goods by description may include the following two situations
  • Where the buyer has not seen the goods and relies on their description given by the seller.

Amar purchased a car, which he had never seen, from Akbar. Akbar described the car as a ‘brand new’ one. However on delivery, Amar found that the car was used and repainted. It was held that the sale was by description and the car did not correspond with the description. In this case, Amar was entitled to reject the car.

  • Where the buyer has seen the goods but he relies on the description given by the seller.

In an auction sale of old furniture the auctioneer described the furniture to be of 16th century. The buyer after seeing the furniture bought the same and subsequently found that furniture was not of 16th century but was of 18th century. The buyer was entitled to reject the goods because the goods did not correspond to the description given by the seller.


Note: Sometimes packaging also may form an important part of description.

Condition as to sample Sec 17

Where the goods are sold by sample the following implied conditions are to be fulfilled
  • The goods purchased in bulk shall correspond with the sample in quality
  • The buyer shall have a reasonable opportunity of comparing the bulk with the sample
  • Goods shall be free from any latent defect, i.e. hidden defect which is not discoverable by reasonable examination of goods

Note: The seller shall be liable even if a hidden defect in the goods was present in the approved sample. The seller is not responsible for any patent defects existing in the sample (patent defects refer to defects which are discoverable on a reasonable examination of such sample)



X contracted with Y to supply him (Y) with 5 barrels of brandy. X provided Y with a sample of brandy. The brandy actually contained some amount of color dye which was not known to Y even after reasonable inspection of the sample. Such existence of color dye would render the product unfit for the purpose of sale under its given description. Later Y came to know about the same and wanted to repudiate the contract. he was allowed to do so as the sample contained latent defect which a reasonable examination would not reveal.

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Condition as to sample as well as description Sec 15

Sometimes, the seller shows a sample of the goods to the buyer and also gives him their description. In such cases, the implied condition is that the goods shall correspond with both, the sample as well as description. If the goods do not correspond either with the sample or the description, the buyer has the right to reject the goods.
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Condition as to quality or fitness of goods for the buyer’s purpose

Sec 16 states that the buyer is expected to know the purpose for which he is purchasing the goods and thus whether or not the goods will fit the buyer’s purpose is for the buyer to decide and the seller cannot be held liable if the goods purchased do not serve buyers purpose. Thus there is no implied condition as to quality or fitness. The buyer must examine the goods thoroughly before he buys them in order to satisfy himself that the goods will be suitable for the purpose for which he is buying.
Sec 16(1) However in the following situation the responsibility of the fitness as to Goods falls on the seller.
  • If the buyer makes his purpose clear for which he requires goods to the seller
  • If the buyer buys the goods ‘relying upon the seller’s skill and judgment’

Amit told Sumit, a dealer in air conditioner, that he wants to buy an air conditioner for his room of size 20 x 20 feet. Sumit suggested buying a 1 ton air conditioner. Amit accordingly bought a 1 ton air conditioner. Later, the air conditioner turned out to be unfit for the room size of 20 x 20 feet. In this case, Amit is entitled to reject the air conditioner as he mainly relied upon the seller’s skill and judgment for his specific use of the air conditioner.


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Note: When an article can be used only for one particular purpose, the buyer need not inform the seller the purpose for which the goods are required.

Condition as to merchantability Sec 16(2)

The term ‘merchantability’ means that there is no defect in the goods and they are suitable for the general purpose for which they are produced. The term ‘merchantability’ has not been defined in the Sale of Goods Act. However, it has been interpreted by the court, and fundamentally, it means the following two things:
  • If the goods are purchased for resale, then they should be immediately re-saleable in the market under their description. E.g. The cement turned into stone by water, is not merchantable
  • If the goods are purchased for self-use, then they should be reasonably fit for the purpose for which they are generally used. E.g. A T.V which does not work or a pen that will not write, cannot be treated as merchantable

x y z & company sold motor horns to A. when A received the horns he found them dented and substantially damages owing to bad packing making them not merchantable. It was held that as the goods were not merchantable A was allowed to reject the whole consignment.


Note: where the buyer has examined the goods or where he is given reasonable opportunity but has not examined the goods, there is no implied condition as regards defects which such examination should have revealed.

Condition annexed by custom or usage of trade Sec 16 (3)

Sometime by the very nature of the transaction the seller can know the purpose for which the buyer is purchasing the goods as it can be contemplated by usage of trade. In other words it can be stated that the seller can contemplate the buyer’s from the kind of goods he is purchasing.
When a person purchase a thermometer, the seller can easily contemplate the purpose for which such goods are purchased. In such cases where the seller can contemplate the purpose of purchase, an implied condition would arise regarding the quality and fitness of such goods for the buyer’s purpose.

Condition as to wholesomeness

It is applicable in cases of eatables, i.e., foodstuffs and other goods which are used for human consumption. As per this condition, the goods supplied must not only answer to the description and be merchantable but must also be wholesome, i.e., free from any defect which renders them unfit for human consumption.
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