Caveat Venditor – Legal Maxim

Literal Meaning

Let the seller beware.


Caveat Venditor is a Latin term which means let the seller beware. With its source being traced in the requirement for disclosure of information for the motivations behind facilitating the reason for purchase of the purchaser, gradually this standard has gained unmistakable quality and the obligations of the seller have been given legitimate shape along with various statutes and case laws restricting the standard of caveat emptor to ‘reasonable examination’. Another major debate which arises from the above obligation of the seller to make appropriate disclosure is concerning cases where the seller himself does not come to know about the deformity. Where on one hand a learned scholar on sale of products Benjamin has opined that the seller cannot take the reason of himself not monitoring the deformity in merchandise.


Caveat Venditor is a Latin term which means let the seller beware. The person selling goods is accountable for providing information about the goods to the seller. It is a counter to caveat emptor and suggests that sellers can also be deceived in a market transaction. This forces the seller to take responsibility for the product and discourages sellers from selling products of unreasonable quality.


Whenever the seller is about to sell any goods to the buyer then the seller must be aware about the buyer in respect of to the usage of the goods the address of the buyer the name, occupation etc. 

Case Reference

In the case of Mandava Krishna Chaitanya v UCO Bank, Asset Management[1] it was observed that the concept of as is where is and as is what is basis has lost its significance in the current commercial milieu and the principle of caveat venditor is more on the rise as compared to the outdated principle of caveat emptor. The Transfer of Property Act, 1882 requires the seller to own up to certain duties and it is not open to a responsible bank to take an innocent auction purchaser for a ride by selling to him a tainted property and thereafter claim protection under the principles of buyer beware. The counter-affidavit filed by the bank clearly demonstrates that the bank undertook no exercise whatsoever to verify and ascertain as to what encumbrances attached to the subject property at any stage. No details are forthcoming of any efforts having been made by the bank, be it before the registration authorities or any other authority at any stage. Now, it has come to light that the property in question is tainted on grounds more than one. It falls within the full tank level of a lake and, surprisingly, it is also treated as a ceiling surplus land. That apart, the possession of the property cannot even be handed over by the bank to the petitioner as the sale was effected without the bank securing actual physical possession thereof and the bank does not deny the factum of a lease having been created by the borrower in relation thereto. The bank therefore cannot comply with the statutory mandate of delivering actual possession of the property sold under the sale certificate.

In the case of National Insurance Company Limited, New Delhi v Krishna Devi W/o Sudesh Kumar and others[2] being aware of the date of birth of the insured, it was incumbent upon the Insurance Company to apprise her about its limited liability under the policy before accepting the proposal and the premium. We are convinced that collection of excess premium from the Complainant on coverage assured amount of US$250000 and earning of higher commission by its Agent, not only tantamounts to unfair trade practice, it is equally unethical. It may not be out of place to observe at this juncture that it is high time that in a consumer oriented market, the rule of Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware) must give way to the rule Caveat Venditor (Let the seller beware).

In the case of Rekha Sahu v UCO Bank and others[3] it was held that when the rule of caveat emptor (buyer beware) prevails, it is for the purchaser to either verify the title before purchasing the property or invite complication through litigation. However, now the rule of caveat emptor is replaced by caveat venditor (seller beware) and when the Bank/Financial Institution put the property on sale, they must show clear title to the said property.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[1] Mandava Krishna Chaitanya v UCO Bank, Asset Management, 2018 (2) ALT 640

[2] National Insurance Company Limited, New Delhi v Krishna Devi and others, 2015 Indlaw NCDRC 679

[3] Rekha Sahu v UCO Bank and others, 2013 (101) ALR 291


I am Kousini Gupta, final year BBA.LLB. student from Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad. The topics in Constitutional, Intellectual Property, Entertainment and Media Law excite me in particular and bring out the best in me. I have interned at District Court, High Court and several reputed law firms. The experience of these internships was highly valuable and enriching. My research and publications have been accepted in reputed national journals. Besides, I also enjoy mooting and have several participation certificates to my credit. In my free time, I like to be creative with paintings and dance to my favourite tunes.