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The World Law Dictionary Project

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e.g. principle, consideration, jurisdiction
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caveat emptor noun

the legal maxim (=a widely accepted saying) that the buyer takes on the risk regarding quality or condition of property purchased from a seller, and should therefore examine and test a product for obvious defects and imperfections; the principle that the buyer is responsible for finding out the condition of the property by survey and any matters affecting the legal title to the property by using a lawyer to check the title and carry out searches
When it comes to choosing an investment fund, the principle of caveat emptor, or 'buyer beware', applies.

Hello I'm Robin and welcome to TransLegal's lesson of the week. Today we're going to talk about the legal Latin phrase caveat emptor. Now caveat emptor is a maxim, or a very widely-accepted saying that in Latin means “may the buyer beware” and that is it's legal import. What it means is that the buyer takes on the risk regarding the quality or condition of the property purchased. This is a very old rule and it was the general rule for everything until modern times. However, these days, in both the UK and the US as well as most other common law countries, there's a lot of modern consumer legislation and this usually provides that the consumer is entitled to a refund, an exchange or a credit for goods that are defective. However, in non-consumer situations, the doctrine of caveat emptor still can often apply. For instance, when buying real estate the buyer is expected to be proactive in order to make sure that there are no defects hidden or otherwise in the real estate and that they are not subjected to any kind of fraud or scam. Also, in buying used goods, like a used car, often the buyer has the risk, bears the burden of making sure that he or she gets what she bargained for or what she paid for and that there are no defects in the car because they will not be able to return the car and get money back because of the doctrine of caveat emptor. The word “caveat” is often used by itself just to mean a warning. For instance, you could say that the regulatory agency issued a caveat to citizens to do something or not to do something. We also have the phrase caveat venditor and this means the opposite of caveat emptor, it means “let the seller beware”. And the result of this is that it means that unless a seller explicitly disclaims liability for something it will be held liable for any defective goods. This only applies where legislation states so and, as you understand, it is the complete opposite of caveat emptor. That's all for today. I'd like to issue a caveat that everything we say on this lesson of the week is only to help you learn Legal English and you should not use if it you are a lawyer to advise your clients. So thanks for today, we look forward to your comments.

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