Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Consumer’s Life Preserver: Implied Warranties Under California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Protection Legislation Compared To The UCC

Mexia v. Rinker Boat Co., (2009) WL 1651442, ___Cal. Rptr. 3d ___ 2009 .

A June 15, 2009 decision by the California Court of Appeal threw a life preserver to a boat owner and all purchasers of consumer products. One Jess Mexia bought a boat from Rinker Boat Co. The boat came with an express limited warranty. Mexia claimed that the boat could not be repaired due to corrosion in the engine. Mexia sued Rinker Boat Co., not under the UCC, but rather the Song-Beverly Act, which covers consumer goods in California. The trial court ruled in favor of Rinker Boat Co., but the Court of Appeal reversed. The Court discussed the greater protections available to the consumer under the Song-Beverly Act, as compared to the UCC.
  • Implied warranty of merchantability. Under the UCC, the purchaser must typically show a breach at the time of sale or delivery. Under the Song-Beverly Act, this implied warranty generally lasts as long as the express warranty or one year and the breach may arise after the sale.
  • Statute of Limitations. Claims under the Song-Beverly Act are governed by the same limitations period as UCC 2-725, generally four years after the cause of action has accrued. The accrual period is often upon the date of delivery.
  • Rejection of Nonconforming Goods. This is required, within a reasonable time, by UCC 2-602, 2-607. This deadline for rejection is not required by the Song-Beverly Act.
  • Consumer’s Rights Under the Song-Beverly Act Will Prevail Over Contrary Provisions In UCC. The rights of buyers of consumer goods under Song-Beverly Act prevail over contrary provisions of the UCC.