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"you break it, you bought it" rules

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A

antiqueshopper

Guest
#1
What is the name of your state? Oregon

Hi,

Many antiques dealers post a "you break it, you bought it" sign in their shops. Is this binding? What if the breakage could be attributable to the way an item was displayed? My wife recently broke an item that was improperly secured. We paid a reduced price just to get out of the shop.

Thanks,

Antiquesshopper
 


JETX

Senior Member
#2
"Is this binding?"
*** Yes. Simply, you were put on notice of a condition and accepted it by entering the store. You could simply have decided to shop elsewhere.
 
H

hexeliebe

Guest
#3
And what is wrong with 'up against the wall' or 'on the floor' or 'in the elevator':D:D:D

It's better than the jumper cables :D
 
#4
JETX said:
"Is this binding?"
*** Yes. Simply, you were put on notice of a condition and accepted it by entering the store. You could simply have decided to shop elsewhere.

My response:

I don't agree. "Notice" has nothing to do with this situation. An understanding of the law of "business invitees", "contract law" and "negligence" (e.g., foreseeability) has everything to do with this type of situation. It wouldn't matter if there was a "You Break It, You Bought It" sign.

The sale of goods is largely governed by the law of contract and requires offer and acceptance before a contract is created. The display of goods on a shelf is generally treated in law as an invitation to the public to make an offer to purchase the goods for the price displayed. The offer is made by the customer when he presents the item for payment. Acceptance occurs when payment is accepted.

It is at this point that a binding contract is created. If, before this time, the customer accidentally breaks an item, the customer may not be liable to pay for the item under the law of contract. This is because there is no contract between the customer and the store for the purchase of the item, and the breaking cannot by itself create a contract. Prior to the payment, the ownership of the item remains with the store and, therefore, the loss when it breaks is the store's loss.

As one example, you invite 30 of your friends over to your home to look at, and purchase, Amway products. During the event, one of your friends inadvertently knocks over a vase from the Ming Dynasty. Are you going to charge your friend? Perhaps the house was too crowded; or the vase was precariously displayed. As the homeowner, and because of so many people, it was "foreseeable" that damages would occur and the vase removed from harm's way.

In addition to contract law, the law of negligence must also be considered. As a business owner, it is foreseeable that a business invitee (a customer) will inadvertently break an item. Many things have to be considered before liability rests; e.g., how was the merchandise displayed; was the store crowded with merchandise, has this happened in the past, was the customer walking around like a "bull in a china shop" or was the customer only moving in a responsible manner taking into account their surroundings? It's all a matter of proof.

Besides, there's no law that says a customer has to pay "on the spot". So, in summary, let the shop owner take you to Small Claims court and PROVE there was a contract, or negligence.

IAAL
 
#6
violetb said:
"I also read somewhere that this is not enforceable....because of conditions previously mentioned."

=================================

My response:

Well, I guess that puts a cork in that bottle. As long as "violetb" read it somewhere, that's all we'll ever need to know.

I guess that falls under the "Read It Somewhere" rule.

IAAL
 

JETX

Senior Member
#7
I live, I learn.

However, I do have to say that there are a lot of conditions, even in IAAL's post that could lead the 'accident prone' shopper to be liable.
 
#8
JETX said:
I live, I learn.

However, I do have to say that there are a lot of conditions, even in IAAL's post that could lead the 'accident prone' shopper to be liable.

My response:

Well, I can't disagree with that, Jetx. There are myriad of scenarios, and reasons for breakage. I can't cover them all - - from the most careful of customer to the klutziest customer - - but, that's where the law of negligence comes into play. All I was really trying to get across is that a sign saying "You Break It, You Bought It" is not binding upon the customer. It's not a contract. But, what it all comes down to is proving negligence - - and we do that in courts of law.

IAAL
 
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