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Roger, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 31765
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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My HVAC vendor wants to charge me for a replacement part ($460)

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My HVAC vendor wants to charge me for a replacement part ($460) that I say should have been covered by a 5 year warranty. (I've bought this condo new in 2011 and he was designated as the responsible contractor by the sponsor)
The manufacturer confirmed that the unit has a 5 year warranty, but I can't take advantage of it because I don't have the original paperwork.
The vendor claims not to have originally installed the HVAC unit, even though all the ducts were installed by him and have his company's stickers. That's why he claims not to have any of the original paperwork.
The sponsor said that he thought that the vendor in question installed the system, but isn't
The vendor is now threatening to sue me to recover the cost of the part
What's the best way for me to proceed?
Thank you,
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Business litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

Who is saying you must have the original warranty paperwork?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Kirk
The manufacturing company does
Apparently the warranty kicks in at the unit installation date. (And I don't know what it is)
Short of that, the only thing I can go on is the date of manufacture which according to the serial number is XXXXX (and the warranty would have expired in 2012)
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Ok. Thanks very much for the information.

If you can't prove the installation date, then that is certainly a problem. Maybe your condo association has documentation of the installation date, etc. Also, the contractor would generally keep up with what it installs and also keep copies of the warranty paperwork - - there's no legal requirement of that, but most contractors keep those kinds of records.

If you can't work out an agreement, the only thing you could do IF you're sued is to ask the court to require the contractor to provide you with an accounting of its records to see when it installed the unit. It the court requires that information from the contractor, and it turns out that the installation occurred less than 5 years ago, that should be adequate proof that the claim should be covered by the warranty. If there is no evidence, documentation or other proof of the installation date, then you're probably out of luck.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
He claims to have no records at all, moreover, he claims that he was not even the original installer.
Does that make me completely out of luck?
Can he force me to pay by suing me?
If what this contractor is claiming is true, and if there's no way for you to prove the installation date, then I don't see where you could enforce the warranty because you can't prove the date the warranty began.

If this contractor didn't install the product, maybe your association has records of who did - - and they could help you track down the installer and warranty information. If there's no way to find out when the warranty began, and more than 5 years have passed since manufacturer, things don't look good for making a warranty claim.

If the contractor sues, he can use the judgment to try and collect from you. If you don't voluntarily pay, the contractor could use the judgment to garnish wages, levy your bank account, etc. to collect the debt.
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