Magnuson-Moss Warranty-Federal Trade Commission ACT
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal Law that protects the buyer of any product which costs more than $25 and comes with an express written warranty. This law applies to any product that you buy that does not perform as it should.
The Magnuson-Moss Act is a federal law giving consumers considerable rights in dealing with manufacturers and car-dealers of lemon automobiles. This law guarantees a car buyer that certain minimum requirements of warranties must be met, and provides for disclosure of warranties before purchase.
Regarding “lemon cars”, this law greatly affects the rights of car buyers. For any product which has a written warranty, if any part of the product, or the product itself is considered defective, the warrantor must permit the buyer the choice of either a refund or replacement of the product.
We have argued successfully to juries that the lemon manufacturers and car-dealers should be given three (3) attempts to fix the defect. Continued attempts to repair beyond the initial three (3) should not be allowed. We call this the “three strikes and you’re out” principle.
A consumer may pursue legal action in any court of general jurisdiction in the United States to enforce his rights under the Magnuson-Moss Act. Attorney’s fees based on actual time spent will be covered if the consumer prevails.
Due to this particular condition, there is quite a bit of financial pressure on the manufacturer to settle consumer disputes before going to court, as this would keep their expenses down.
UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE
TARR BABY-The Uniform Commercial Code or UCC has been enacted in all 50 states and some of the territories of the United States. It is the primary source of law in all contracts dealing with the sale of products. The “TARR” refers to Tender, Acceptance, Rejection, Revocation and applies to different aspects of the consumer’s “relationship” with the purchased goods.
TENDER-The tender provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code contained in Section 2-601 provide that the buyer is entitled to reject any goods that fail in any respect to conform to the contract. Unfortunately, new cars are often technically complex and their innermost workings are beyond the understanding of the average new car buyer. The buyer, therefore, does not know whether the goods are non-conforming.
ACCEPTANCE-The new car buyer accepts the goods believing and expecting that the manufacturer will repair any problem he has with the goods under the warranty.
REJECTION-The new car buyer may discover a problem with the vehicle within the first few miles of his purchase. This would allow the new car buyer to reject the goods. If the new car buyer discovers a defect in the car within a reasonable time of inspecting the vehicle, he may reject the vehicle. This period is not defined. On the one hand, the buyer must be given a reasonable time to inspect and that reasonable time to inspect will be held as an acceptance of the vehicle. The courts will decide this reasonable time to inspect based on the knowledge and experience of the buyer, the difficulty in discovering the defect, and the opportunity to discover the defect.
REVOCATION- What happens when the consumer has used the new car for a lengthy period of time? This is the typical lemon car case. The UCC provides that a buyer may revoke his acceptance of goods whose non-conformity substantially impairs the value of the goods to him when he has accepted the goods without discovery of a non-conformity because it was difficult to discover or if he was assured that non-conformities would be repaired. Of course, the average new car buyer does not learn of the non-conformity until hundreds of thousands of miles later. And because quality is job one, and manufacturers are competing on the basis of their warranties, the consumer is always assured that any non-conformities he does discover will be remedied.
Note: The author of the sections on the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the Uniform Commercial Code is T. Michael Flynn of www.defect.com.