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What Are The Elements Of A Breach Of Warranty Claim In Arizona?

The first element is having a vehicle that is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty; second, you need an unreasonable number of repairs that have occurred under that warranty or unreasonable time in the repair shop for warranty repairs. You also have to bring a claim within four years of when your vehicle’s repair history became unreasonable.

Now, there is an aside to that. Some RV manufacturers have three month time limits for bringing breach of warranty claims in their warranties. We argue that three month time limits are not enforceable because they are shorter than the one year time limit that is allowed. Even the one year time limit is only allowed if written consent is obtained from the consumer.

Legal arguments don’t mean those time limits will always be invalidated, though. It is ultimately up to a judge to decide that issue.

One complicating factor is that consumers of RVs often sign warranty registration cards, and even though they’re told, “Hey, this is just to register your warranty,” there’s actually fine-print legalese in there that says they agree to all of the warranty terms. The company can then say, “Well, they agreed that the time limit for bringing warranty claims is shortened.” That’s why you need to be very careful what you sign and you should never sign any document that you haven’t fully read.

What Happens If a Warranty Is Breached?

If a warranty is breached, you have to decide if you’re going to take it lying down or if you’re going to do something about it. A warranty is not worth the paper it’s written on if it’s not properly covering your product.

When a warranty is breached because a vehicle is defective and does not get repaired within a reasonable opportunity it’s a very unfair situation.

You didn’t get what you paid for, especially when you’ve paid top dollar for a new or relatively new product. You’ve basically gotten the equivalent of something that’s used, rundown, several years old, or has really high mileage.

If you wanted to take the risk of having repair problems, you would’ve bought such a used product, but you would also have paid a lot less for it. It’s not fair that you buy something new or relatively new that’s still under warranty and then have the same kind of defect problems of a much cheaper, older, or roughly used vehicle.

When the vehicle’s warranty is breached, you should at least look at getting some of your money back.

What Are the Remedies for a Breach of Warranty Claim?

For breach of warranty claims in Arizona, the main remedy is cash compensation, and there are two legal ways to look at it: 1) Diminution in Value, and/or 2)Incidental and Consequential Damages

First, let’s discuss diminution in value. What that means in English is that you basically didn’t get what you paid for. You bought something brand new, but you’ve really got the equivalent of something used and run down that should have cost way less. Therefore, you’re entitled to recover that gap in value by using hindsight to determine what you would have paid if you’d known all the repair issues you’d be facing. The easiest way to determine that is new versus used. A used product costs substantially less, so you should get the gap between that used price and the new price your actually paid.

The other way to be compensated for breach of warranty is what’s called incidental and consequential damages. That means that as a consequence of the warranty being breached, you were damaged by your loss of use of the product and/or by the aggravation and inconvenience of dealing with repairs.

The way loss of use is figured in Arizona is dependent on the time out of service for warranty repairs and the fair daily rental value for the time when you would have been using the vehicle. If it’s a car, it’s basically the entire time, and if it’s a part-time vehicle like an RV or an off-road vehicle, then it would just have to be based on the total time that the vehicle would have been used. So if it would have been used, say, half of the time, then you would be entitled to get a fair rental value of using that same type of vehicle for half the time.

There’s no specific formula for aggravation and inconvenience, so it’s just based on what the consumer feels is fair. At the end of the day, one thing you can never get back is your time; once it’s gone, it’s gone. So that’s why those types of damages are available.

With that being said, most warranties disclaim incidental and consequential damages, which means they basically say in the warranty that you can’t get those damages. However, these warranty disclaimers can be defeated if failure of essential purpose is proven. The essential purpose of warranties that are limited to repair or replacement of defective parts is to complete those repairs within a reasonable opportunity. If the new repairs are not completed within a reasonable opportunity, then that is a means of saying, “Hey, you don’t get to use these disclaimers to prevent compensation, because you’ve failed to live up to your warranty repair obligations.” You can’t enforce one part of the warranty (the disclaimers) when you failed to live up to the other part of the warranty (the repair requirement).

Most cases that settle out of court end up settling for the first type of compensation (basically, not getting what you paid for), although we do make arguments about those other types of compensation methods. The main method is, again, you didn’t get what you paid for or you overpaid for the product, so you should get at least a partial refund.

For more information on the Arizona Lemon Law and Breach of Warranty, a Free Lemon Law Evaluation is your next best step. Please call (480) 237-2744 for Free Lemon Law help today.

Amar Law Group

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