Implied Conditions and Warranties in the Sale of Goods

Uaatjo Kaurimuje

Consumers be aware of issues dealing with the implied conditions and warranties attached to the subject matter for the sale of goods which may or may not be mentioned in the contract, as your basic rights.

The seller has the right to sell goods only if he is the true owner and holds the title of the goods or is an agent of the title holder.

When goods are sold, the implied condition for the goods are their title, i.e. the ownership of the goods.

If the seller does not own the title of the said goods himself and sells them to the buyer, it is a breach of condition.

In such a situation the buyer can return the goods to the seller and claim his money back or refuse to accept the goods before delivery or whenever he learns about the false title of the seller.

The plaintiff had purchased a car from the defendant and was compelled to return it to the true owner after having used it for a while.

The plaintiff then sued the defendant for the purchase money, alleging a breach of the title ownership condition.

When the goods are to be supplied based on a sample provided to the seller by the buyer during the formation of a contract, the following conditions are implied:

  • Bulk supplied should correspond with the sample in quality.
  • The buyer shall have a reasonable opportunity to compare the goods with the sample.
  • The goods shall be free from any apparent defect on reasonable examination by the buyer.

When a buyer intends to buy goods by description, the goods must correspond with the description given by the buyer at the time of formation of the contract, failure in which the buyer can refuse to accept the goods.

When the sale of goods is by a sample as well as a description the bulk of the goods should correspond with both, i.e. description, and sample provided to the seller in the contract and not only sample or description.

Caveat emptor, or “Buyer beware,” is a legal principle that applies to sales and purchases of goods.

This implies that the customer is responsible for ensuring the things he plans to purchase are fit and of high quality, and he cannot hold the seller accountable for his poor decision.

Nonetheless, a small number of requirements are given that are seen as implicit in terms of the goods’ quality and fitness:

When the buyer specifies the purpose for the purchase of the goods to the seller, he relies on the sound judgement and expertise of the seller.

For the purchase, there is an implied condition that the goods shall comply with the description of the purpose of purchase.

When the goods are bought on a description from a person who sells goods of that description (even if he doesn’t manufacture the goods), there is an implied condition that the goods shall correspond with the description.

However, in case of an easily observable defect that is missed by the buyer while examining the goods it is not considered as an implied condition.

Understanding these implied conditions is crucial for consumers to protect their rights in the sale of goods.

  • Uaatjo Kaurimuje is a consumer protection advocate and freelance writer.
  • The views and opinions expressed in this public notice corner are those of the author and do not necessarily represent their employer, organisation, committee, or other legislative groups.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!