Delivery of Goods | Meaning | Modes of delivery

What is Delivery of Goods?

Delivery of Goods in the Sale of Goods Act is defined as a voluntary transfer of possession from one person to another. Thus, to effect a valid delivery, goods from one person to another must be transferred willingly and not by means of fraud, theft, or force, etc. Mere possession of goods does not amount to delivery of goods.

Modes of Delivery of goods

Delivery of goods may be made in any of the following three ways:

1. Actual Delivery: Also known as physical delivery, actual delivery takes place when the goods are physically handed over by the seller or his/her authorized agent to the buyer or his/her agent authorized to take possession of the goods.

For example, A, the seller of a car hands it over to B, the buyer; it is a case of actual delivery of the goods.

2. Symbolic Delivery: Where the goods are bulky and heavy and it is not possible to physically hand them over to the buyer, delivery thereof may be made by indicating or giving a symbol. Here the goods itself are not delivered, but the means of obtaining possession of goods is delivered.

For example, delivering the keys of the warehouse where the goods are stored, or the keys of a purchased car to its buyer, bill of lading which will entitle the holder to receive the goods on arrival of the ship.

3. Constructive Delivery: In this case neither physical nor symbolic delivery is made. In constructive delivery the individual possessing the products recognizes that he holds the merchandise for the benefit of, and at the disposal of the purchaser. Constructive delivery is also called attornment.

Constructive delivery may be effected in the following three ways.

  • Where the seller, after having sold the goods, agrees to hold them as bailee for the buyer
  • Where the buyer, who is already in possession of the goods as bailee of the seller, holds them as his own, after the sale, and
  • Where a third party, for example, a carrier/transporter, who holds the goods, as bailee for the seller, agrees and acknowledges holding them for the buyer