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Reproduced with permission from Suomalainen Lakimiesten Yhdistys: - Tidskrift utgiven av Juridiska Föreningen i Finland [Finnish Law Society] 126 (1990) 327-343

excerpt from

Obligations of the Buyer under the Vienna Convention on the International Sale of Goods [*]

Leif Sevón, Director General, jur.lic.

(. . .)

In the Convention a distinction is made between the buyer's obligation to take delivery and his obligation to take over the goods. Of these expressions "take delivery" is the broader one. According to Article 60, the obligation to take delivery consists on one hand in performing all the acts which could reasonably be expected of the buyer in order to enable the seller to make delivery and, on the other hand, in taking over the goods. The latter expression is related to the physical possession of the goods.

The Convention does not deal at any great length with the buyer's obligation to take delivery of the goods.

The obligation to take delivery clearly covers obligations relating to the transmission of the goods from the seller to the buyer. It is less clear whether this obligation also covers the duty to provide information relevant to the production of the goods or to perform other acts at an earlier stage than the actual transmission of the goods. This issue, which is partially covered by Article 65, is relevant with respect to the remedies available to the seller in cases of breach of obligation.

Where the contract of sale involves carriage of the goods and the buyer participates in the arrangements for the carriage, the extent of the buyer's obligation depends on the type of arrangements. The obligation covers the duty to enter into a contract of carriage. It might also cover obligations relating to the loading of the goods and their storage during carriage or at the destination.

The duty to take over the goods relates to the physical possession of them. Since references in the Convention to the buyer also cover [page 337] persons acting on his behalf, it would seem that the obligation referred to in Article 60(b) also covers cases where the carrier refuses to accept the goods for carriage, e.g., because of their dangerous nature, if the buyer should have informed the carrier of the nature of the goods in advance. This obligation also covers the late arrival of a carrier engaged by the buyer at the place where the buyer is to take over the goods. Lastly, it covers the obligation of the buyer himself to take over the goods after carriage arranged by the seller as well as in cases where the contract calls for the seller to make delivery of the goods by placing them at the buyer's disposal at the seller's place of business or at another particular place.

Under Article 86 (2), if goods dispatched to the buyer have been placed at his disposal at their destination and the buyer exercises the right to reject them, he must in certain situations take possession of the goods on behalf of the seller. Here one does not speak of taking delivery and the remedies for failure to take delivery do not apply to failure to take possession.

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Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated January 27, 2000

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