law of commerce, Business Economics

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Hatfield owned a large farm on which he grew grain. His combine was inadequate in relation to the acreage of grain that he harvested annually. As a result, on several occasions his crops had been adversely affected by rain and poor weather conditions. He reasoned that a larger machine could reduce the time spent harvesting by as much as two-thirds and, thereby, reduce the chances of bad weather affecting his harvest.

At an agricultural exhibition, he examined a new self-propelled combine that was advertised as capable of harvesting grain at three times the speed of his old equipment. The machine was much larger and more powerful than his old combine and appeared to be of the correct size for his farm.

On his return home, he contacted the local dealer for the combine. After explaining his needs, he was assured by the dealer that the size he was considering would be capable of harvesting his crop in one-third of the time taken by his older model. He placed an order for the combine, with delivery to be made in early July, well before he would require the equipment.

The machine did not arrive until the beginning of the harvest, and Hatfield immediately put the machine into service. Unfortunately, the machine was out of adjustment, and Hatfield was obliged to call the dealer to put it in order. The equipment continued to break down each time Hatfield operated it at the recommended speed. In spite of numerous attempts by the dealer to correct the problem, the equipment could not be operated at anything more than a very slow speed without a breakdown. Hatfield found that despite the large size of the equipment, his harvest time was no faster. When the harvest was completed, he returned the machine and demanded his money back.

The equipment dealer refused to return his money. He pointed to a clause in the purchase agreement that Hatfield had signed, which read: "No warranty or condition, express or implied, shall apply to this agreement with respect of fitness for the use intended or as to performance, except those specifically stated herein."

The only reference in the agreement to the equipment stated that it was to be a "new model XVX self-propelled combine."

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