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02/09/2010

A stock and station agent placed advertisements in The Land offering some rural properties for sale.  The advertisements claimed “around 7,000 acres is available to farm” and “Cropping: overall about 7,500 acres can be farmed.” Contracts were exchanged  at a price of $4.488 million following a series of inspections and a drawn-out negotiation. Before the purchase was completed, the buyer discovered the arable area was actually 5,325 acres and sued for a reduction in the price. When the buyer did not tender the agreed price on the date for completion, the seller cancelled the contracts.

The court found that, although the seller had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, the buyer had not lost any money in reliance on the false advertisements. That conclusion was reached because:

  1. the buyer had relied instead on his own inspections and sworn valuations;
  2. a disclaimer in the contract said “Interested parties should make and rely on their own enquiries in order to determine whether or not this information is in fact accurate“;
  3. a clause in the contract said that all the terms of the agreement were recorded in that document and
  4. a further clause excluded any reduction in price if the area was found to be less than that promissed by the document.

Read the judgement in Bullabidgee Pty Ltd v McCleary; McCleary v Bullabidgee Pty Ltd [2010] NSWSC 145

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