IMPLIED TERMS AS TO FITNESS

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You should click on this link to get to the beginning of this article or check through the site from the home page, I bet it’s going to worth your time… TERMS IMPLIED BY STATUTE WITH RESPECT TO TITLE, QUALITY AND FITNESS 

IMPLIED TERMS AS TO FITNESS 

Section 14 of the Sales of Goods Acts starts by stating that there is no implied condition or warranty concerning the quality or fitness for any particular purpose of goods supplied under the contract of sale, that is, caveat emptor (a principle that a buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before purchase is made).

However, in subsection (1) of s.14, the above stipulation is qualified. It affirms that if the buyer expressly or impl

iedly makes the seller know that he desires the product for a specific and particular purpose, there is a liability on the seller to make sure he gets what he wants. The principle was applied in the case of Preist v Last where the buyer asked for a hot water bottle from the seller, a chemist. His wife used the hot water bottle and after the fifth use, the bottle burst and subsequently, the wife was scalded. It was held that a hot water bottle is fit for one purpose, keeping hot water.

For products which have multiple purposes and the specific purpose is not mentioned, the seller is not liable to be held for a breach of contract. In Khalil and Dibbo v G. Mastronikolis, the plaintiff who bought a quantity of engine oil did not make known the purpose for which he required the oil and later complained that it was not good for internal combustion engines. The court held that the defendant was not in breach as the oil could be put to various uses.

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In conclusion, The liability imposed on sellers, in breach of the above implied terms vary depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. Where the seller has no title as in the case of Akoshile v Ogidan above, the seller will be held liable for a breach of contract and the buyer would be entitled to a refund. If the breach is with respect to fitness of purpose, the seller’s liability will depend on whether the goods have only one or multiple purposes or uses. In the event that the goods have only one purpose, the seller would be held liable for a breach of contract and the buyer would be entitled to a refund of the purchase price or damages depending on the unique facts of the case. The liabilities for a seller in breach of merchantable quality is similar to that of one who is in breach of the implied terms with respect to fitness for purpose, but differ on grounds provided in s.142) of the Sale of Goods Act, 1893. 

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