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Statements of Opinion

15 January, 2016 - 09:32

An opinion, of course, is not a fact; neither is sales puffery. For example, the statements “In my opinion this apple is very tasty” and “These apples are the best in the county” are not facts; they are not expected to be taken as true. Reliance on opinion is hazardous and generally not considered justifiable.

If Jack asks what condition the car is in that he wishes to buy, Mr. Olson’s response of “Great!” is not ordinarily a misrepresentation. As the Restatement puts it: “The propensity of sellers and buyers to exaggerate the advantages to the other party of the bargains they promise is well recognized, and to some extent their assertions must be discounted.” 1Vague statements of quality, such as that a product is “good,” ought to suggest nothing other than that such is the personal judgment of the opinion holder.

Despite this general rule, there are certain exceptions that justify reliance on opinions and effectively make them into facts. Merely because someone is less astute than the one with whom she is bargaining does not give rise to a claim of justifiable reliance on an unwarranted opinion. But if the person is inexperienced and susceptible or gullible to blandishments, the contract can be voided, as illustrated in Vokes v. Arthur Murray, Inc. in Misrepresentation by Assertions of Opinion .