Mr. Blackburn is in the Law Department of Westinghouse Electric Corporation, where he works in the fields of contracts, commercial law, and government contracts. He was educated at Princeton and Harvard Law School, and contributes articles frequently to purchasing agent magazines.
Last year, a purchasing agent who was making a speech to an organization of purchasing agents expressed the opinion that most sellers wanted to include warranties in their sale contracts not for the purpose of spelling out what was to be done in the case of a defective product but rather for the purpose of making sure that no implied warranties would later come back to haunt the seller. To support his belief, he quoted from a number of sellers' standard warranties, calling attention to the provisions disclaiming or excluding any liability, except for that specifically stated, on account of defects in the object sold.
Whether or not he was correct in his conclusion (and the writer happens to believe that he was), his remarks serve to call attention to a problem which is at the core of any sale and which is becoming more and more the principal battleground between seller and buyer. If the product turns out not to be what was ordered, what rights does the buyer have? It will be the purpose of this article to try to outline briefly what rights of this nature are available and how they may be preserved or disclaimed.