Bartlett v Sidney Marcus

Bartlett v Sidney Marcus Ltd [1965]: A Summary

It is possible for a buyer to lose his right to bring a claim under Section 14(2) in scenarios in which the seller has specifically drawn defects in the goods to the attention of the buyer. This can be seen in the following case of Bartlett v Sidney Marcus Ltd.

Case name:Bartlett v Sidney Marcus Ltd
Case citation:[1965] 2 All ER 753; [1965] 1 WLR 1013
Court:Court of Appeal
Jurisdiction:England & Wales
Date/year:13 April 1965
The bench of judges:Lord Denning MR, Lord Justice Danckwerts and Lord Justice Salmon
Area of law:Implied condition as to Satisfactory Quality

Facts of the case (Bartlett v Sidney Marcus Ltd)

The seller was a car dealer, and the buyer purchased a second-hand car from him. Before they finalized the contract of sale for the vehicle, the seller made sure that the buyer was informed that the car had a defective clutch. Because of the defective state of the car, the seller lowered the price that the buyer was required to pay in order to account for this.

However, the problem with the clutch turned out to be significantly more serious and required a significantly greater amount of money to repair than the buyer had originally anticipated it would. The buyer attempted to return the car on the grounds that it did not meet the quality standard he was entitled to expect.


Was there a breach of the implied term as to quality? Was the seller accountable?

Judgment of the Court in Bartlett v Sidney Marcus Ltd

The Court of Appeal decided that the car was of merchantable quality.

It was held that the buyer’s claim could not succeed because the seller made every effort to make it clear to the buyer that the clutch was defective.

Lord Denning MR stated that: ‘A buyer should realize that when he buys a second-hand car, defects may appear sooner or later.’

Governing section behind the decision

Section 14(2C) of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 enumerates a few instances in which the buyer will not be able to rely on the presumption that the goods supplied to him are of satisfactory quality. That is, he will lose the statutory protection contained in Section 14(2) in the following circumstances:

  • Defects that were brought to the buyer’s attention prior to the conclusion of the contract of sale.
  • When the buyer inspects the goods prior to entering into the contract and this examination ought to have revealed defects.
  • In a sale by sample, the buyer may lose the right to assert that the goods are not of satisfactory quality if a reasonable examination of the sample should have revealed any defects.

If the case of Bartlett v Sidney Marcus is seen, here because the buyer had been informed of the defect by the seller, the buyer could not claim any rights under Section 14 due to the application of Section 14(2C).

References used:

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