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What Does ‘Caveat Emptor’ Mean?

Latin for-“Let the buyer beware.”

It is a legal principle that suggests that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made. Colloquially, it usually means make sure you check the thing out that you are about to buy/do/sign up for etc.

Under the principle of caveat emptor, the buyer cannot recover damages from the seller for defects on the property that render it unfit for use, unless the seller actively concealed latent defects or otherwise made material misrepresentations leading to the transaction.

In many modern consumer markets, consumer protection laws have reduced the effect of the caveat emptor rule, imposing more responsibility on the seller to provide certain guarantees about the product or service being sold. However, it remains a foundational principle, especially in transactions of used goods or properties where the buyer is expected to perform due diligence before making a purchase.

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