What are my remedies in California under the UCC?

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is a national code set in place to help regulate warranty laws from state to state. The UCC provides recommendations for warranty laws, but does not dictate specifics or require that states adopt certain regulations, so a consumer's (and manufacturer's) rights under the UCC may vary depending on where he or she is located, where the manufacturer of the product in question is located, and/or whether that state has adopted some or all of the provisions.

Understanding the UCC

The recommendations set forth in the UCC provide buyers and manufacturers with a number of “remedies,” meaning their legal rights to resolution should a product purchased be found defective and replaceable through a warranty. Again, details will vary by state, but the general remedies recommended by the UCC are listed below:

  • The right to reject non-conforming goods (if product does not meet standards set in contract, buyer can reject it) 
  • The right to perfect tender (product that meets all standards); buyer may reject product that does not, although he must notify the seller of the rejection without accepting the product. 
  • The right to a good faith standard and commitment from both parties. 
  • The right of protection against unreasonable contract demands. 
  • The right to suspend action on a contract should it be suspected that the other party is not following through on their agreement; suspension can be done on demand of an assurance in writing.
  • The right to new terms incorporated into official agreement should changes be made or required. 
  • The right to protection under statute of frauds, meaning the contract need not be written provided it is understood and unchallenged.
  • The seller has the right to be given time to correct or replace the product in question before the buyer escalates the issue legally.
  • The seller carries responsibility for the product until it is either placed on a carrier, or arrives at its destination, depending on delivery specifics.
  • The seller holds the risk of loss in a sale until the buyer is actually in possession of the product.
  • A farmer acting as seller has the right to protection against legal action in the event of crop failures from unexpected causes. He must deal with buyers fairly and reasonably in this situation and by doing so he removes any liability from himself.
  • The seller has the right to reclaim goods, thus excluding all other remedies, within 20 days of the goods arriving at the buyer's, should the seller find the buyer cannot fulfill payment.
  • The buyer of a merchant store has the right to reject goods that do not meet standards, provided he does so following seller instructions. If the seller does not provide an option for how to reject goods, the buyer is responsible for attempting to sell the goods; the buyer may then collect a percentage of the profit for the effort.
  • The seller has the right to refuse delivery to a buyer who is reasonably believed to be unable to pay, unless the buyer is willing to pay upfront in cash. 
  • The buyer has the right to reasonably expect an item to meet certain basic standards (“implied warranty of fitness”). The seller is responsible for understanding that the buyer has the right to expect this from him.
  • Both parties have the right to adjustments being made to value of goods; if one party is reimbursing the other for defective goods, the age and condition of the goods will affect the amount paid (not merely the contract purchase price).
  • The seller/ manufacturer of a product is exempt from certain situations such as cancellations and frauds if he or she has made a certain investment already in time and materials on a specially manufactured product being made by request.

Getting Help w/ Guarantees and the UCC

If you believe you may have a claim under the UCC for an unfulfilled warranty or guarantee (type of warranty), consult a lawyer today.