Before statutory law, the buyer had no warranty of the quality of goods. In many jurisdictions, the law now requires that goods must be of "merchantable quality". However, this implied warranty can be difficult to enforce, and may not apply to all products. Hence, buyers are still advised to be cautious.
In addition to the quality of the merchandise, this phrase also applies to the return policy. In most jurisdictions, there is no legal requirement for the vendor to provide a refund or exchange. In many cases, the vendor will not provide a refund but will provide a credit. In the case of software, movies and other copyrighted material many vendors will only do a direct exchange for another copy of the exact same title. Most stores require proof of purchase and impose time limits on exchanges or refunds. However, some larger chain stores will do exchanges or refunds at any time with or without proof of purchase- although they usually require a form of picture ID and place quantity or dollar limitations on such returns.
Laidlaw v. Organ, a decision written in 1817 by Chief Justice John Marshall, is believed by scholars to have been the first U.S. Supreme Court case which laid down the rule of caveat emptor in U.S. law.
In the UK, consumer law has moved away from the caveat emptor model, with laws passed that have enhanced consumer rights and allow greater leeway to return goods that do not meet legal standards of acceptance. Many companies operating in the UK will allow customers to return goods within a specified period for a full refund, even if there is no problem with the product.
In the landmark case of MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. (1916), New York Court Appeals Judge Benjamin N. Cardozo established that privity of duty is no longer required in regard to a lawsuit for product liability against the seller. This case is predominantly regarded as the origin of caveat venditor as it pertains to modern tort law in US.
Did you get what you paid for? Caveat emptor stands for the proposition that a purchaser takes a property, with all defects of quality and condition, as he or she finds it.(Feature Report on Real Estate Law)
Jul 01, 2007; The sale and purchase of a property is, legally speaking, a beautiful thing. The vendor and purchaser agree on the terms of sale....