Wilson v. Scampoli

228 A.2d 848 (D.C. 1967)

 

RULE:

While there is no mandate to require a buyer to accept patchwork goods or substantially repaired articles in lieu of flawless merchandise, minor repairs or reasonable adjustments are frequently the means by which an imperfect tender may be cured. The seller, then, should be able to cure a defect under D.C. Code Ann. § 28:2-508(2) in those cases in which he can do so without subjecting the buyer to any great inconvenience, risk or loss.

FACTS:

Appellee buyer purchased a television set from appellant merchant that malfunctioned upon delivery. The merchant informed that the set could be repaired, but the set would have to be returned to the merchant's shop for repairs. The buyer refused to return the set, but demanded a new set. The buyer later demanded return of the purchase price and the merchant refused. The buyer brought an action for recission and the return of the purchase price. The trial court entered judgment for the buyer and ordered recission of the sales contract and a return of the purchase price. On appeal, the court reversed judgment.

 

The right to conform his tender by making minor repairs that would not have inconvenienced the buyer. The court held that because the buyer denied the merchant a reasonable opportunity to make repairs, the buyer failed to establish a breach of warranty that would have entitled him to a new set or recission.

ISSUE:

Does buyer's refusal to allow seller to inspect allegedly defective goods defeat the buyer's recission action over the defect?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

Removal of a television chassis for a short period of time in order to determine the cause of color malfunction and ascertain the extent of adjustment or correction needed to effect full operational efficiency presents no great inconvenience to the buyer. In the instant case, appellant's expert witness testified that this was not infrequently necessary with new televisions. Should the set be defective in workmanship or parts, the loss would be upon the manufacturer who warranted it free from mechanical defect. Here the adamant refusal  on behalf of appellee, to allow inspection essential to the determination of the cause of the excessive red tinge to the picture defeated any effort by the seller to provide timely repair or even replacement of the set if the difficulty could not be corrected. The cause of the defect might have been minor and easily adjusted or it may have been substantial and required replacement by another new set -- but the seller was never given an adequate opportunity to make a determination.

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