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Sale of goods by description


A contract for the sale of goods, as per the law, is a contract by which the seller transfers or agrees to transfer the property in goods to the buyer for a money consideration called the price.

Generally speaking, it is not necessary to observe complex formalities to create sale of goods contract.

It may be in writing or by word of mouth or even impliedly by conduct. Parties are free to agree between themselves regarding details of their contract.

However, there are implied terms, of conditions and warranties in every contract of sale. A major implied condition on the part of the seller, that he has a right to sell the goods and to pass the property.

If he can’t pass good title of ownership to the buyer, he will be liable for breach of a condition.

Moreover, there are implied warranties that goods are free from any charges or encumbrances not known by buyer and the buyer will enjoy quiet possession of the goods.

Incase , there is a contract for the sale of goods by description, there is an implied condition that the goods will correspond with the description.

If the buyer does not see the goods be - fore he buys them, for example, from a mail order catalogue or other phone ads.

In such instances , there has been clearly what is known as “sale by description”. Even where the buyer has seen the goods and perhaps selected them himself, it may still be a sale by description, provided that he has relied to some extent on a description.

Nowadays, we normally, find the “sale by description” in e-commerce contracts which constitute a major development in international trading transactions. The description of goods may cover many matters such as size, quality, weight, ingredients, origin or even how they are backed.

The slightest departure from the specifications will entitle the buyer to reject the goods for breach of a condition of the contract.

However, a seller may ensure that the transaction is not a sale by description by including such phrases as “bought as seen” or “sold as seen” in the contract. During COVID- 19, people were not allowed to go as they used and many sales were undertaken under the “sale by description”. A good example here is ordering food through “Talabat”.

You may reject any delivery due to breach of description or packing. However, to go for this rejection, there must be strong reasons.

The law does not concern itself with trifling matters or personal measures and strong reasons are required.

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(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Daily Tribune)