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socrateaser
socrateaser, Attorney
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SuperKool is a company that makes air conditioners and sells

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SuperKool is a company that makes air conditioners and sells them out of its SuperKool stores. SuperKool also sells used air conditioners of its own brand, which the company identifies as selling “as is” with no express warranty. For the new air conditioners that SuperKool sells, research and discuss what types of statements, durations, and disclaimers would be typical to put in its express warranties and explain why. What other types of warranties might apply under statute or common law? For the used air conditioners, does the “as is” label absolve SuperKool of all liability if something goes wrong with the air conditioner after purchase?

In addition, discuss what kind of liability does SuperKool have in the following scenario:

An elderly customer buys a new air conditioner and installs it himself, but does not notice that after a month the air conditioner has stopped blowing cool air. Two months after installing the air conditioner, there is a heat wave and the customer dies of heat stroke in the room in which the air conditioner was installed.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 years ago.
New Air

All consumer products sold in the USA are subject to two different warranty regimes.

Under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, an express limited warranty concerning a consumer product that limits the duration or the purchaser's warranty rights may prescribe the terms and conditions of the user's warranty, but it may not waive the purchaser's right to sue for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability found in the purchaser's state Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), during the duration of the manufacturer's written warranty -- which is the second of the two warranty regimes.

The consequence of this scheme is that manufacturers can limit their specific liability to warranty repairs during the period of their limited warrant -- but, they may not avoid liability for a product which is found by a court to be of less than "fair and average quality" (i.e., "merchantable").

Standard warranty terms typically provide specific means of effecting repairs, where to send the item and by what method, and frequently limit the manufacturer's responsibility to either repair or replacement, or refund of purchase price, at the manufacturer's discretion. Also, at the end of the warranty period, both the limited warranty and the implied warranty of merchantability are terminated, thereby releasing the manufacturer from further liability.

Used Air

Under the UCC, all goods are subject to an implied warranty of merchantibility, i.e., that the good will be of "fair and average quality." A breach of warranty entitles a buyer to damages to make the buyer whole in the transaction. The UCC also entitles a seller to avoid the warranty of merchantability by expressly stating that the goods are sold "as-is," or "with all faults." Courts have generally required that such disclaimers must be clear and conspicuous, in raised or bold typeface, so that the disclaimer stands out from the rest of the contract, and that the disclaimer generally track the content of the UCC language, e.g., "This merchandise is being sold 'as-is.' Seller hereby disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, including the implied warranty of merchantability and warranty for a particular purpose."

Failure to express the disclaimer substantially as above described, permits a buyer to avoid the disclaimer and enforce the warranty.

Product Liability

Under the common law, a product placed into the stream of commerce which is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use in design, manufacture or warning, subjects the manufacturer, distributor and reseller to strict liability for any injuries caused to the consumer.

Here, the air conditioner apparently has no warnings about when it is not cooling. There are no direct facts suggesting that the air conditioner was designed or manufactured in a faulty manner. Moreover, a warning device on an air conditioner would be superfluous, because the system effectively informs anyone using it that it is not cooling, because the user can feel the air temperature in the room not responding to the air conditioner.

Even an elderly person can distinguish between cool and warm air, so it cannot be said that an air conditioner without a warning device concerning the cooling mechanism is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use.

Based upon this, the death of the elderly person, while indirectly connected to the air temperature, is not the result of a poor designe, manufacturer or warning -- therefore, the elderly person's estate has no claim for product liability against the manufacturer, distributor or reseller.

Finis.

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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 34823
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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