When rules are predictable and consistent, the world around us is more certain. And that’s the basis for the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) – a set of laws that standardizes legal rules and regulations governing business dealings and transactions. The complexity of the contract can vary – but the uniformity of the law covering the transaction itself remains constant. Thanks in part to the UCC, ‘caveat emptor’ or ‘buyer beware’ – is no longer applied in consumer law.
Pennsylvania Uniform Commercial Code (PA UCC) protects the consumer.
PA UCC sets minimum standards that a purchased good must meet. And it applies to the cars we buy – sellers have certain responsibilities because of laws regarding ‘express’ and ‘implied’ warranties:
- Express warranties are affirmative promises about quality and features of the goods being sold.
- Implied warranties allow buyers to purchase goods and be confident that the goods meet certain minimum standards.
Almost everything you buy comes with implied warranties – including vehicles. There are two general types of implied warranties: (1) ‘Merchantability’ and (2) ‘Fitness for a Particular Purpose’. These are different than Express warranties.
How do warranties apply to your vehicle purchase?
Express warranties are most often written warranties that talk about repairing certain defects. For example, when you buy a car, you may receive an express warranty that says the dealership will fix the power train if you have any problems. Implied warranties (both types) come with every sale of a new or used vehicle and are not in writing – and they don’t need to be in writing. You cannot be charged for implied warranties. The dealership can only waive the implied warranties with a proper ‘as is’ sale, which are rarely enforceable. Pennsylvania laws around ‘as is’ are so specific that most of these contracts don’t stand up in court.
Implied Warranties: Merchantability
The Implied Warranty of Merchantability is simple. The meaning? If a dealership sells you a car, it has to function as a car. Cars are designed for transportation, so the vehicle you buy has to be able to do just that: transport you. The car has to pass inspection, turn right, turn left, start, drive, and stop. If you are sold a car that will not pass inspection because of a defect, it cannot function as a car on Pennsylvania roads. If you are sold a car that constantly stalls out when you stop at red lights, your car cannot reliably get you from point A to point B. Dealers may try to avoid their liability by saying the car was sold without a warranty, use an ‘as is’ disclaimer, or even attempt to fix the car out of ‘good faith.’ But none of these scenarios remove the implied warranty. In the end, you have been sold a car that cannot function as a car. You may have legal recourse.
Implied Warranties: Fitness for a Particular Purpose
The Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose warranty protects buyers needing a vehicle to perform a specific task. The consumer relies on the dealer’s expertise to find the vehicle that meets a need. This warranty makes it illegal to sell something that won’t do the job. Here’s an example. You need a work truck with enough horsepower to pull a ton of lumber. You tell the salesperson the purpose. The salesperson shows you a truck and says it will pull a ton, no problem. You buy the truck, take it to work, and it won’t pull that much weight. This could be a claim under the Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose. Why? Because if the buyer informs the seller about a particular purpose, and is told that the vehicle will meet that purpose, then the implied warranty is included in the sale.
Do you have a warranty claim? We can help you find out.
Even if you signed ‘as is’ paperwork, you may still have an implied warranty claim. And although not as common, the Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose may be valid in your case. What’s more, warranty claims can be combined with other auto fraud claims. We are experienced lawyers that can help you navigate your rights under the complex legal issues involving warranties. Often times, we are able to represent clients in these cases at little to no cost to the client. We may even be able to ask the court to make the other side pay for your attorney fees.
Contact us today to discuss your specific case!