See an earlier post HERE on the subject of defective motor cars.
In 2007, the High Court gave judgment (seen HERE) in a case where the consumer had the benefit of a warranty, given to him on the purchase of the car, that it would return not less than 50 miles to the gallon.
In fact it did and it did’nt. It did’nt when the Plaintiff was driving it; it did during two fuel consumption tests carried out by a motor engineer engaged by the importers of the motor car.
The court accepted the evidence and records of the Plaintiff as to the consumption of fuel and found the defendant was in breach of contract.
However, it had taken a long time to resolve the matter and the Plaintiff had run up over 50,000 miles on the car. He sold it and therefore could not be awarded a rescission of the contract.
The court said:
“The issue to be decided is what damages the plaintiff should be entitled to recover. He has sold the car now, and he had the use of the car since January 2003 until March 2006 and he travelled 56,000 miles in it over that period. In my view the level of damages cannot equate to the cost of the car less what he sold it for, or less that what he ought according to the defendant to have been able to sell it for, namely about €18,000. That would be unfair to the defendant, since there was not a complete failure of consideration.”
Damages were the appropriate remedy, calculated in the sum of €6,625.
(The High Court was on circuit and the case was on appeal from the Circuit Court. The sum awarded was just over the upper limit of the jurisdiction of the District Court and therefore properly (just) within the Circuit Court jurisdiction. The outcome allocated the costs of two expensive proceedings. The costs would have been at least twice, and probably three times, the compensation. Litigation is dangerous).