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Re: "caveat emptor"


Neil McLeod <[log in to unmask]>


Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>


Tue, 10 Jun 2008 21:48:44 +0800





text/plain (24 lines)

Dennis King wrote:
> is there anything in the laws (a
> maxim would be nice!) that puts a responsibility on the buyer to verify
> that he's really getting what he's looking to buy?

'Caveat emptor' was most definitely not part of Brehon Law. On the
contrary, there was a positive obligation on the part of the seller to
inform the buyer of any defect that the seller was aware of. If the
seller failed to do this, it was fraud. In the case of such fraud, the
buyer could return the goods, get his own purchase price back AND get
damages to the value of the defect as well.

The Irish position on unnoticed defects is nicely encapsulated in a
passage in the Senchas Már law tract called 'Córus Bésgnai':

Sóer cach sáithiud - slán ara-fhinnathar gáeth.
Gáu cach díupart - nad airigetar baíth.

"Every poor bargain knowingly entered into (saíthiud) is valid - that
which a sensible person knows before hand is sound.
Every poor bargain entered into unknowingly (díupart) is false - that
which unknowing people do not notice."


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