Hall Furniture Co. Inc v. Crane Breed Mfg. Co

Decision Date28 April 1915
Docket Number(No. 368.)
CourtNorth Carolina Supreme Court

Appeal from Superior Court, Guilford County; Devin, Judge.

Action by the Hall Furniture Company against the Crane Breed Manufacturing Company. Judgment for plaintiff, and defend ant appeals. No error.

This is an action to recover $100 which the plaintiff paid to the defendant as the purchase price of a secondhand hearse, which was shipped to the plaintiff after the payment of the money and before he had seen the hearse. The plaintiff refused to accept the hearse because, as he alleged, it was worthless. The contract of sale was entered into by correspondence. On February 27, 1913, plaintiff wrote the defendant: "We are in the market for a good secondhand funeral car—light weight preferred." On March 1, 1913, defendant answered saying:

"We are glad to hear * * * that you are in the market for a good light weight secondhand black funeral car. Accordingly, we inclose herewith the following designs: * * * R. J., 710, is a light weight, secondhand four column black car which we have stored with one of our customers in Tennessee. It has steel tires on it and the general condition of it is pretty good. * * * Simply inclose your check for whichever one you want, "

This letter inclosed a cut of R. J., 710. On March 5, 1913, plaintiff wrote:

"If the 710 you speak of in Fayetteville, Tenn., is in good condition, and like the cut you sent us, and will take any size casket—all complete—we will send you check for one hundred dollars for the same."

On March 7th defendant wrote plaintiff:

"Of course you understand we do not guarantee any secondhand vehicles, but from what our representative writes regarding this, we are inclined to think that it is worth every dollar we ask for it. [Price asked was $150.] Your offer now of $100 is considerably less than what we expected to realize out of it, but as we have quite a stock of secondhand cars on hand at the present time, and do not want to bring this one in also, we have decided to accept your offer of $100 cash, and will appreciate your check for that amount at once."

On March 10th plaintiff sent defendant check for $100, and in his letter stated that he was buying R. J., 710, with the understanding "that it is like the cut sent me and in good condition." On March 12th the defendant wrote the following letter to the plaintiff:

"We are in receipt of yours of the 10th inst., inclosing check for $100.00, in payment of the R. J., 710 funeral car, which we have stored at Fayetteville, Tenn. We note your shipping instructions to forward to the Hall Furniture Co., at Leaksville, N. C, via the cheapest route. Before ordering this car shipped to you, however, we would want it thoroughly understood that we do not guarantee conditions of any secondhand vehicles. As stated in our last letter, we have not seen the vehicle ourselves, but our representative who did see it and made thetransaction, advises us that, in his opinion, he considered it worth every dollar which we are asking you for it. A car that has been out some years evidently does show wear and tear, and if there should be any doubt in your mind as to the value of it, it would pay you to go to Fayetteville, Tenn., to look at this car, in order that there may be no misunderstanding with us regarding its condition. What may be considered by us as being good condition may not agree with your ideas of good condition, as there is a great deal of room for difference of opinion as to the value of secondhand hearses. We wrote you yesterday that we were informed by our customer that this hearse had a brake on it and steel tires, and we understand that it will be shipped to the buyer with lamps, curtains, pole and everything ready for use. If you, therefore, decide to take it with the distinct understanding that it cannot be returned to us if not satisfactory and that it is not guaranteed by us as to condition, we will instruct our customer to forward it over the cheapest route, sending bill of lading with freight rate inserted for same to us which we will, in return, forward to you, together with receipted bill for the amount. It is not our intention to deceive any purchaser of goods from us and therefore, think it best to write you of the actual conditions so that if you desire to look into it personally you could do so before making shipment of the vehicle to you. We will hold your check until we hear from you as to your decision in the matter."

The plaintiff offered evidence tending to prove that the hearse was of no value and worthless, that there were no wheels on the hearse, and that those sent with it were not of sufficient strength to hold it up because some of the spokes were out and a part of the felloes loose, and that the top was weatherworn and rotten so you could tear it off with the hand, and a part of the woodwork was decayed and in bad shape. The defendant offered no evidence as to...

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    ... ...          Ehringhaus & Hall, of Elizabeth City, and R. C. Lawrence, of Lumberton, ...          In ... Hall Furniture Co. v. Crane Mfg. Co., 169 N.C. 41, ... 85 S.E. 35, L. R ... ...
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    ...86 Iowa, 543; Williston on Sales (2 Ed.) secs. 232, 233; Marmet Coal Co. v. Peoples Coal Co., 226 Fed. 646; Hall Furniture Co. v. Crane, 41 L.R.A. 1915B, 428, 85 S.E. 35; Walker E. & C. Co. v. Ayer, 80 S.C. 292, 61 S.E. 557; Guyandotte Coal Co. v. Va. Elec. Co., 118 S.E. 512; Gary Coast Age......
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