• In the case of Dick Bentley Productions Ltd v Harold Smith Motors Ltd [1965] 1 WLR 623, a motor car was said to have done 20,000 miles after the engine and transmission had been changed when it actually done 100,000 miles.
  • This contract case is about misrepresentation and sale of goods.
  • During the course of dealings for a contract, when a statement is made to induce the other party to enter the contract then it constitutes as a warranty. It’s unreasonable for the person who made the representation to face the consequences of the legally binding contract.

Facts of the Case

  • D made a representation on the sale of a second hand Bentley to C claiming after the engine and gearbox was replaced the Bentley ran for 80,000 less miles than it actually did.
  • C, the purchaser, pursued damages against D, the seller, for the breached warranty.


  • Was the statement regarding the coverage of mileage a warranty or false misrepresentation?

Held by Court of Appeal

  • Appeal dismissed – the statement made by Smith was considered a warranty not an innocent misrepresentation.

Lord Denning MR

Warranty or misrepresentation

  • In Heilbut Symons & Co v Buckleton [1913] AC 30, Holt C.J held: “An affirmation at the time of the sale is a warranty, provided it appear on evidence to be so intended”.
  • This case is different to Oscar Chess v Williams [1957] 1 WLR 370 where the claimant honestly and reasonably believed the statement made was true. The representation in this case satisfies the criteria for a warranty not a innocent misrepresentation because the intention was for it to be carried out.
  • D could have accessed information such as the car’s history by contacting the manufacturers prior to making the representation. The statement was false when the background and circumstances of the motor car was finally considered.
  • “If an intelligent bystander would reasonably infer that a warranty was intended, that will suffice. What conduct, then? What words and behaviour lead to the inference of a warranty?”

Editor’s notes

  • This case establishes the difference between a misrepresentation and a warranty. It elaborates on what manufacturers and buyers should expect during the sale of goods and the important of fulfilling contractual obligations.