(1) Unless otherwise agreed and subject to subsection (3), where goods are tendered or delivered or identified to the contract for sale, the buyer has a right before payment or acceptance to inspect them at any reasonable place and time and in any reasonable manner. When the seller is required or authorized to send the goods to the buyer, the inspection may be after their arrival.
(2) Expenses of inspection must be borne by the buyer but may be recovered from the seller if the goods do not conform and are rejected.
(3) Unless otherwise agreed and subject to the provisions of this article on C.I.F. contracts (subsection (3) of section 28:2-321), the buyer is not entitled to inspect the goods before payment of the price when the contract provides:
(a) for delivery “C.O.D.” or on other like terms; or
(b) for payment against documents of title, except where such payment is due only after the goods are to become available for inspection.
(4) A place or method of inspection fixed by the parties is presumed to be exclusive but unless otherwise expressly agreed it does not postpone identification or shift the place for delivery or for passing the risk of loss. If compliance becomes impossible, inspection shall be as provided in this section unless the place or method fixed was clearly intended as an indispensable condition failure of which avoids the contract.
1981 Ed., § 28:2-513.
1973 Ed., § 28:2-513.
This section is referenced in § 28:2-310.
Uniform Commercial Code Comment
Prior Uniform Statutory Provision: Section 47(2), (3), Uniform Sales Act.
Changes: Rewritten, Subsections (2) and (3) being new.
Purposes of Changes and New Matter: To correspond in substance with the prior uniform statutory provision and to incorporate in addition some of the results of the better case law so that:
1. The buyer is entitled to inspect goods as provided in subsection (1) unless it has been otherwise agreed by the parties. The phrase “unless otherwise agreed” is intended principally to cover such situations as those outlined in subsections (3) and (4) and those in which the agreement of the parties negates inspection before tender of delivery. However, no agreement by the parties can displace the entire right of inspection except where the contract is simply for the sale of “this thing.” Even in a sale of boxed goods “as is” inspection is a right of the buyer, since if the boxes prove to contain some other merchandise altogether the price can be recovered back; nor do the limitations of the provision on effect of acceptance apply in such a case.
2. The buyer’s right of inspection is available to him upon tender, delivery or appropriation of the goods with notice to him. Since inspection is available to him on tender, where payment is due against delivery he may, unless otherwise agreed, make his inspection before payment of the price. It is also available to him after receipt of the goods and so may be postponed after receipt for a reasonable time. Failure to inspect before payment does not impair the right to inspect after receipt of the goods unless the case falls within subsection (4) on agreed and exclusive inspection provisions. The right to inspect goods which have been appropriated with notice to the buyer holds whether or not the sale was by sample.
3. The buyer may exercise his right of inspection at any reasonable time or place and in any reasonable manner. It is not necessary that he select the most appropriate time, place or manner to inspect or that his selection be the customary one in the trade or locality. Any reasonable time, place or manner is available to him and the reasonableness will be determined by trade usages, past practices between the parties and the other circumstances of the case.
The last sentence of subsection (1) makes it clear that the place of arrival of shipped goods is a reasonable place for their inspection.
4. Expenses of an inspection made to satisfy the buyer of the seller’s performance must be assumed by the buyer in the first instance. Since the rule provides merely for an allocation of expense there is no policy to prevent the parties from providing otherwise in the agreement. Where the buyer would normally bear the expenses of the inspection but the goods are rightly rejected because of what the inspection reveals, demonstrable and reasonable costs of the inspection are part of his incidental damage caused by the seller’s breach.
5. In the case of payment against documents, subsection (3) requires payment before inspection, since shipping documents against which payment is to be made will commonly arrive and be tendered while the goods are still in transit. This Article recognizes no exception in any peculiar case in which the goods happen to arrive before the documents. However, where by the agreement payment is to await the arrival of the goods, inspection before payment becomes proper since the goods are then “available for inspection.”
Where by the agreement the documents are to be held until arrival the buyer is entitled to inspect before payment since the goods are then “available for inspection”. Proof of usage is not necessary to establish this right, but if inspection before payment is disputed the contrary must be established by usage or by an explicit contract term to that effect.
For the same reason, that the goods are available for inspection, a term calling for payment against storage documents or a delivery order does not normally bar the buyer’s right to inspection before payment under subsection (3)(b). This result is reinforced by the buyer’s right under subsection (1) to inspect goods which have been appropriated with notice to him.
6. Under subsection (4) an agreed place or method of inspection is generally held to be intended as exclusive. However, where compliance with such an agreed inspection term becomes impossible, the question is basically one of intention. If the parties clearly intend that the method of inspection named is to be a necessary condition without which the entire deal is to fail, the contract is at an end if that method becomes impossible. On the other hand, if the parties merely seek to indicate a convenient and reliable method but do not intend to give up the deal in the event of its failure, any reasonable method of inspection may be substituted under this Article.
Since the purpose of an agreed place of inspection is only to make sure at that point whether or not the goods will be thrown back, the “exclusive” feature of the named place is satisfied under this Article if the buyer’s failure to inspect there is held to be an acceptance with the knowledge of such defects as inspection would have revealed within the section on waiver of buyer’s objections by failure to particularize. Revocation of the acceptance is limited to the situations stated in the section pertaining to that subject. The reasonable time within which to give notice of defects within the section on notice of breach begins to run from the point of the “acceptance.”
7. Clauses on time of inspection are commonly clauses which limit the time in which the buyer must inspect and give notice of defects. Such clauses are therefore governed by the section of this Article which requires that such a time limitation must be reasonable.
8. Inspection under this Article is not to be regarded as a “condition precedent to the passing of title” so that risk until inspection remains on the seller. Under subsection (4) such an approach cannot be sustained. Issues between the buyer and seller are settled in this Article almost wholly by special provisions and not by the technical determination of the locus of the title. Thus “inspection as a condition to the passing of title” becomes a concept almost without meaning. However, in peculiar circumstances inspection may still have some of the consequences hitherto sought and obtained under that concept.
9. “Inspection” under this section has to do with the buyer’s check-up on whether the seller’s performance is in accordance with a contract previously made and is not to be confused with the “examination” of the goods or of a sample or model of them at the time of contracting which may affect the warranties involved in the contract.
Cross References: Generally: Sections 2-310(b), 2-321(3) and 2-606(1)(b).
Point 1: Section 2-607.
Point 2: Sections 2-501 and 2-502.
Point 4: Section 2-715.
Point 5: Section 2-321(3).
Point 6: Sections 2-606 to 2-608.
Point 7: Section 1-204.
Point 8: Comment to Section 2-401.
Point 9: Section 2-316(3)(b).
Definitional Cross References: “Buyer”. Section 2-103.
“Conform”. Section 2-106.
“Contract”. Section 1-201.
“Contract for sale”. Section 2-106.
“Document of title”. Section 1-201.
“Goods”. Section 2-105.
“Party”. Section 1-201.
“Presumed”. Section 1-201.
“Reasonable time”. Section 1-204.
“Rights”. Section 1-201.
“Seller”. Section 2-103.
“Send”. Section 1-201.
“Term”. Section 1-201.