Does Puffing of Goods by a Vendor Fall within the Purview of Cheating or any other Offence (Indian Penal Code, 1860)?
A simple misrepresentation of the quality of goods is not a false pretence. Any exaggeration or deception in the ordinary course of dealings between the buyer and the seller during the progress of a bargain cannot be the subject of a criminal prosecution.
But when the thing sold is of an entirely different description from what it is represented to be and the statements made are not in the form of an expression of opinion or mere praise, the offence of cheating will be committed.
Where, therefore, the accused induced the complainant to purchase a chain from him by fraudulently representing that it was 15- carat gold, when, in fact, it was only a trifle better than 6-carat, knowing at the time that he was falsely representing the quality of the chain as 15-carat gold, it was held that the statement that the claim was 15-carat gold, not being mere exaggerated praise, not relating to a mere matter of opinion, but a statement as to a specific fact within the knowledge of the accused, was a false pretence.
Again, if a man sells milk as pure milk, whereas he knows the mixture to be half milk and half water, he is guilty of cheating. Similarly, in illustration (b) in answer to question 181 (i) the offence committed is of cheating.