Material Representation Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Material Representation, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Material Representation?

(n) Material representation is the statements, information or explanation given to a person to persuade him in taking a decision which he otherwise would not have taken. This is an external influence to make an agreement or contract as void

History and Meaning of Material Representation

Material representation has long been a feature of contract law in many countries around the world, including the United States. This term refers to the statements, information, or explanations given to a person to persuade them to take a decision that they otherwise might not have taken. If the material representation includes false or misleading information, it can be used as a basis for arguing that a contract is void.

In other words, if one party makes a false material representation to another party during negotiations for a contract, the party who relied on that representation to make a decision or enter into the contract can claim that it was made under false pretenses and consequently, hold the offending party accountable for any damages incurred.

Examples of Material Representation

  1. A real estate agent tells a prospective buyer that the home they are interested in does not have any defects or issues, but this information is not true. The buyer relies on that statement to make an offer and eventually close the deal, only to discover afterward that the home has significant issues which the agent knew about or should have known about. The buyer could argue that the contract was signed under false pretenses based on the agent's material misrepresentation.

  2. A salesperson convinces a customer to buy a product by asserting that it is made from high-quality materials or has certain features. However, the product is not made from high-quality materials, or the features don't work properly. The customer can make a claim based on material representation against the company.

  3. A seller provides a written warranty as part of a contract or sale, but the warranty terms are fraudulent, intentionally or not. If the warranty contains material representation that was intentionally misleading, this can lead to the contract being voided.

Legal Terms Similar to Material Representation

  • False Advertising: This term is similar to material misrepresentation but typically refers to situations where false statements are made for commercial gain or to influence consumers.

  • Fraudulent Misrepresentation: This is a similar legal concept to material representation but involves intentionally making false statements with the intent to deceive or defraud.

  • Warranty Claims: This refers to the range of legal claims that can be made when a party breaches a warranty, either written or implied.