10

In at least the US and UK lots of items that are sold in multipacks come with a notice on them that often reads:

Not for individual resale

That always strikes me as slightly odd - it looks like it's intended to be a contractual term that I can only see after opening the outer packaging and in a situation where I wouldn't expect any terms to apply other than between myself and the retailer/wholesaler.

If I were to choose to ignore that and split multipacks to sell them later would the manufacturer of the product in question have any recourse against me? (In either of the aforementioned jurisdictions)

  • (Clearly there's a different scenario where a retailer does have a contract, but that's not the question here) – Flexo Jul 2 '16 at 11:03
19

My understanding is that this isn't a contractual term, but rather a warning that the items don't satisfy legal requirements for individual sale. The seller and manufacturer likely don't care whether you resell the items, but the government does.

In the US, at least, regulations of the Food and Drug Administration require that (with certain exceptions) food items sold at retail must be marked with a Nutrition Facts label, showing calorie counts, fat and sugar content, and so on. The FDA has information on this requirement, including citations to the relevant sections of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

For example, if you buy a big multipack of tiny ("fun size") candy bars, the manufacturer usually won't have printed Nutrition Facts on each candy bar's wrapper (because it's too small). There will instead be a label on the outer bag. As such, you can't legally resell the candy bars individually, because they don't meet labeling requirements.

In fact, in the FDA page I linked above, you can see that manufacturers are required to print "This unit not labeled for retail sale" on individual items if they don't have Nutrition Facts labels. See the 12th item in the table of exemptions.

  • @tsilb: That's outside the scope of this question, and I also don't know the answer. You could ask it as a new question, but please specify the exact jurisdiction. – Nate Eldredge Sep 30 at 2:14
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At least in New Zealand (so id expect UK and probably USA as well) ”not for individual resale” is does not prevent or restrict a purchaser from reselling in any way.

Its often used in vending coke,condom machines) where there is an agreement between the vendor and reseller to provide a discounted rate (or fridge or machine or other value) in return. This would be contractually binding on reseller, but not purchasers.

I believe this is legislated through enactments of ”The First Sale Doctrine”.

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