Environmental Services Inc. v. Hull Forest Products Inc.
Allegations that a seller falsely represents that an item advertised on Craigslist is "perfect" may not create a warranty or provide the buyer a cause of action for misrepresentation. The defendant, Hull Forest Products, allegedly advertised its trailer on Craigslist and described the trailer as "good," "perfect" and "nice." Hull sold the trailer "as is" to the plaintiff, Environmental Services, which agreed to pay $16,000. The individual who picked up the trailer for the plaintiff only checked the brakes, lights, tires and springs and did not immediately conduct a thorough inspection. After the purchase, a mechanic allegedly discovered that the trailer could not pass a federal inspection, because it was rusted. Environmental Services complained that Hull did not accurately describe the trailer's condition. Environmental Services' attorney faxed a letter, revoking its acceptance. Hull refused to return the $16,000 paid. The plaintiff sued, alleging breach of contract, mutual mistake, intentional misrepresentation and fraud. The defendant objected it offered the plaintiff the opportunity to inspect the trailer, prior to purchase, and that the defendant expressly disclaimed any warranties when the defendant sold the trailer "as is." The court rejected the plaintiff's argument that the defendant created a warranty, because it allegedly described the trailer as "perfect" and "nice." (The defendant denied the plaintiff's claim it described the trailer as "perfect.") "[E]ven assuming the word `nice' was used in [the ad]," wrote the court, "it does not constitute a warranty." The plaintiff failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, breach of contract. The plaintiff also failed to prove it was fraudulently induced to enter the contract, as a result of the alleged statement that the trailer was "perfect." "The statement," wrote the court, "was simply too vague and broad to be considered a false statement." The plaintiff, which only conducted a quick inspection, prior to picking up the trailer, bore the risk of mistake and failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, inequitable or fraudulent conduct by the defendant, and that the plaintiff entered the contract as a result of a mistaken belief. The court granted judgment to the defendant.