Sales law is a special type of contract law, governed by Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), adopted in every state but Louisiana. Article 2 governs the sale of goods only, defined as things movable at the time of identification to the contract for sale. Article 2A, a more recent offering, deals with the leasing of goods, including finance leases and consumer leases. The Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) is an international equivalent of Article 2.
Difficult questions sometimes arise when the subject of the contract is a hybrid of goods and real estate or goods and services. If the seller is called on to sever crops, timber, or minerals from the land, or the buyer is required to sever and can do so without material harm to the land, then the items are goods subject to Article 2. When the goods are “sold” incidental to a service, the “predominant factor” test is used, but with inconsistent results. For two categories of goods, legislation specifically answers the question: foodstuffs served by a restaurant are goods; blood supplied for transfusions is not.
Although they are kin, in some areas Article 2 differs from the common law. As regards mutual assent, the UCC abolishes the mirror image rule; it allows for more indefiniteness and open terms. The UCC does away with some requirements for consideration. It sometimes imposes special obligations on merchants (though defining a merchant is problematic), those who deal in goods of the kind, or who by their occupations hold themselves out as experts in the use of the goods as between other merchants and in selling to nonmerchants. Article 2 gives courts greater leeway than under the common law to modify contracts at the request of a party, if a clause is found to have been unconscionable at the time made.
Carpet Mart bought carpet from Collins & Aikman (Defendant) represented to be 100 percent polyester fiber. When Carpet Mart discovered in fact the carpet purchased was composed of cheaper, inferior fiber, it sued for compensatory and punitive damages. Defendant moved for a stay pending arbitration, pointing to the language of its acceptance form: “The acceptance of your order is subject to all the terms and conditions on the face and reverse side hereof, including arbitration, all of which are accepted by buyer; it supersedes buyer’s order form.”
The small print on the reverse side of the form provided, among other things, that all claims arising out of the contract would be submitted to arbitration in New York City. The lower court held that Carpet Mart was not bound by the arbitration agreement appearing on the back of Collins & Aikman’s acknowledgment form, and Defendant appealed. How should the appeals court rule?
Among subjects the UCC does not cover are
When a contract is unconscionable, a court may
Under the UCC, the definition of merchant is limited to
For the purpose of sales law, goods
Article 2 differs from the common law of contracts