Should The Buyer Really Beware?
There’s an old Latin phrase, caveat emptor, which means “let the buyer beware.” It means that the customer shouldn’t always trust what the seller has to say and he or she shouldn’t always take goods at face value. But while caveat emptor is a good way to shrug off the sort of guilt and anguish that follows a bad business decision, should we really blame the customer in all circumstances?
There is a legal term which follows along with the spirit of caveat emptor, and it’s called “due diligence.” The idea is that a buyer has an assumed obligation to at least make a basic inspection of any goods or other products he or she may buy soon, and if the buyer discovers something obviously wrong after making the purchase, it’s his or her fault for handing over the money without finding the problem first.
However, due diligence only really applies to certain major purchases and to investments and similar business transactions. For instance, when you buy an old house you’re usually expected to inspect the property first, and to have experts along to check the house’s history and current condition. If the house turns out to be infested with termites or the business isn’t making anybody any money, then so long as nobody did anything illegal, the seller can’t be held responsible for the buyer being too gullible for his or her own good.
In much the same way, an investor is expected to do a few basic things like read a company’s business plan and read up on their progress and their products before spending any money.
Truth In Advertising
However, while this sort of buyer’s responsibility is still popular with big property purchases, governments have realized over the past few centuries that sellers should also be held responsible for trying to pass defective goods off as working products, and for failing to explain how to use the things they sell.
Some products don’t need detailed explanations and warnings everywhere because they can assume an average child will learn the potential dangers as a part of growing up. A knife, for instance, doesn’t need a warning that says “The blade is sharp and you shouldn’t touch it,” and drawers don’t need to remind you that if you pull them out too far, there’s a good chance they’ll fall out and fall on your foot.
But not every product is so obvious. A microwavable meal needs detailed instructions because depending on the state of the food and the kind of packaging, if you simply throw the box into the microwave, it could explode, start a fire, or leech dangerous chemicals into the food. A pot is simple to understand on its own, but if it has a nonstick coating you need to avoid overheating it or scraping it with metal utensils because these may damage the coating. These facts aren’t common knowledge, and as such the seller has an obligation to provide care instructions so that the buyer can make full use of his or her purchase.
If you were harmed by a product, and even if you didn’t buy the product or use it yourself at the time of the injury, you may be entitled to compensation. If the product was defective, or if it didn’t have enough instructions on how to properly use it, then it may the manufacturer’s fault or else the fault of the store that sold the product.
If you live in southwest Florida, particularly around Port Charlotte or Fort Meyers, then contact All Injuries Law Firm today for a free case review. Regardless of what the ultimate cause of your injury is, we will do our utmost to see to it that you get the compensation which you deserve.