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IT’S THE LAW – By Cassandra Douma
What would you do if you were the judge? Judges decide the facts based on evidence put before them, and then apply the law. Here is a fact pattern similar to those often presented in court and assessed by judges. Test your judgment!
That’s Not What I Bought
Betty purchased the vehicle, signing a Purchase Agreement which contained no assurances about the quality of the car and had a clause stating that there were no “representations or warranties, express or implied, statutory or otherwise” that weren’t in the Agreement.
Over the next six months, Betty had many issues with her new Acme Adventure. She had to refuel daily and take it to the dealership for repairs twelve times. When she had to take the car in for a thirteenth repair, she had had enough. She contacted Sean to demand that he take the car back and give her a refund. When he refused, Betty decided to sue for what she paid for the vehicle. Sean responded saying the Agreement contained no representations or warranties she could rely upon and that Betty had the car for six months so couldn’t return it.
If You Were the Judge, How Would You Decide?
Under BC’s Sale of Goods Act, there are statutorily implied conditions of both quality and fitness when a product is sold to a consumer. The Judge found that Sean’s business was selling vehicles and that Betty informed him of what she needed in a new car. Given Betty’s confessed lack of knowledge of vehicles generally, she had relied on what Sean told her about the car. Because Betty had informed Sean of what she would be using the car for, and he sold her a car that was not reasonably fit for that purpose, there was a breach of an implied condition.
The Judge went on to consider what amounted to normal use of a car and the circumstances surrounding the sale. He found that given the number of repairs necessary in the first six months, the implied condition of durability had been breached. Sean argued that Betty had the vehicle for too long to complain, but the Judge found that she was only giving the car a reasonable chance to perform. Sean was ordered to accept Betty’s return of the car and reimburse her the price she had paid.
Cassandra Douma is an articled student in Cloverdale with the firm MacMillan Tucker & Mackay at 5690 – 176A Street, Cloverdale (Surrey), B.C. At MacMillan Tucker & Mackay, lawyers are available to answer questions about wills and estates, ICBC claims, personal injury, professional negligence, family matters and other issues. If you require legal assistance, please call (604) 574-7431 to book an appointment.