Long v Lloyd [1958] 2 All ER 402

Contract law – Sale of goods – Innocent misrepresentation


The plaintiff was a haulage contractor who saw an advert for the sale of a lorry which was described as in ‘exceptional condition’. The plaintiff saw the vehicle the following day and the defendant stated that the lorry could drive at 40mph. Also, during a test drive, the defendant stated that the vehicle did 11 miles to the gallon. The plaintiff noticed defects on the vehicle and purchased the vehicle for a reduced price, paying half of the cost that day. Two days later, the plaintiff drove the vehicle and discovered serious issues and that the petrol tank was 8 miles to the gallon, rather than 11 and told the defendant. Following this, the plaintiff allowed his brother to take the lorry on a business trip where it again had broken down. The plaintiff brought an action to rescind the contract on the basis of innocent misrepresentation.


The issue for the court was to establish under which circumstances the plaintiff could rescind the contract for the sale of the lorry between the parties. Specifically, this required the court to consider the statements made by the defendant regarding the condition of the lorry.


The court rejected the claim of the plaintiff. It was held that innocent misrepresentation allowed the plaintiff to rescind after the contract had been executed, but that the plaintiff would lose such a right after the goods had been accepted. In sending the lorry on the business trip with his brother, the plaintiff had construed final acceptance of the vehicle and had therefore lost the right to rescind the agreement.