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Oscar Chess Ltd v Williams

[1957] 1 WLR 370

Case summary last updated at 01/01/2020 17:26 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Oscar Chess Ltd v Williams

 P sold D a car in a part exchange. D told P that the car he was trading in was one type of car and P reduced the amount on that basis. It turned out that it was a different type that was worth much less. D had genuinely believed it to be the type of car he claimed since the person who he bought it off had told him that and the cars documents suggested that. P sued D for the difference between the initially stated value of the car and the actual value of the car. CA found that D did not have to pay damages. 

 Denning LJ: Was the statement as to the type of the car a “warranty” i.e. a guarantee? Was it a term of the contract, breach of which demands payment? He says determining something as a warranty or a term rather than mere representation depends on intentions of the parties. In this case the assertion as to the type of car was a claim or a belief, not a promise (quotes the actual speech of D which proves this). Here, D obviously had no personal knowledge of when the car was made and had he been asked to guarantee the type of car, he would have been unable to do so, not having any more knowledge than what he deduced from the log-book, which P had also inspected. P therefore knew that D was in no position to guarantee or warrant the model of the car: he could merely make an informed guess. Also in this case P could have checked by referencing the chassis no. with the company, but did not do so. 

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