Recovery of Labor From Defective Parts

I was talking with Bryan the other day about some of the legal issues facing shops and defective part failure came up. You see, the idea of a warranty for a part might seem like a generous thing for the manufacturer to guarantee, however you’d be surprised that its required – by law.

In taking a look at the Song-Beverly act, at §1792 of the California Civil Code, each part sold comes with an implied warranty of fitness for the specific purpose:

(b) “Implied warranty of fitness” means (1) that when the retailer, distributor, or manufacturer has reason to know any particular purpose for which the consumer goods are required, and further, that the buyer is relying on the skill and judgment of the seller to select and furnish suitable goods, then there is an implied warranty that the goods shall be fit for such purpose…

(c) The duration of the implied warranty of merchantability and where present the implied warranty of fitness shall be coextensive in duration with an express warranty which accompanies the consumer goods, provided the duration of the
express warranty is reasonable; but in no event shall such implied warranty have a duration of less than 60 days nor more than one year following the sale of new consumer goods to a retail buyer. Where no duration for an express warranty is stated with respect to consumer goods, or parts thereof, the duration of the implied warranty shall be the maximum period prescribed above.

(d) Any buyer of consumer goods injured by a breach of the implied warranty of merchantability and where applicable by a breach of the implied warranty of fitness has the remedies provided in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 2601) and Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 2701) of Division 2 of the Commercial Code, and, in any action brought under such provisions, Section 1794 of this chapter shall apply.

What does this tell you? Well, reading in between the lines, through the legalese, 60 days from purchase, you have an implied warranty of fitness in the purchased part. If it fails, it’s under warranty.

Guess what remedies are provided under the commercial code? That’s right – recovery of labor to remove the part and replace it. The part should have worked the first time.

Don’t send the part to the manufacturer. Gather some independent evidence. 90% of the time, the manufacturer will claim installation error or technician error as the result. Right – a technician with 30 years on the job, ASE certified master technician installed a two-bolt alternator wrong.

If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Don’t let manufactures skirt the warranty, document your position, get them to reimburse you for your time. It’s the law.


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