Sale by description

A contract for the sale of goods which includes some description of the goods, and is wholly or in part created or induced by said description. In accordance with sale of goods legislation, there is an implied condition in contracts for sale by description that the goods supplied will align with the description given. ‘Description’ is taken to refer to an outline of the identity of the goods, rather than their quality.

This is provided for in section 18 of the Sale of Goods Act 1923 (NSW) which says:

“Where there is a contract for the sale of goods by description, there is an implied condition that the goods shall correspond with the description; and if the sale be by sample as well as by description, it is not sufficient that the bulk of the goods corresponds with the sample if the goods do not also correspond with the description.”

Ownership will pass in a sale by description when goods matching substantially that description are selected and identified by the seller or buyer with the others consent (Warders (Import & Export) v Norwood [1968] 2 All ER 602).

Where a breach of the implied condition has occurred, the aggrieved party may be able to seek damages or terminate the contract.