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Rosenberg v. Cherry Hill Porsche

A-2613-02T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2003) (Unpublished)

CONSUMER FRAUD; WARRANTIES—It is not fraud for a vehicle manufacturer to repair damage to a new vehicle after the vehicle leaves the factory when the warranty material furnished to a buyer says that such repairs may be made in accordance with the manufacturer’s standards.

A customer bought an expensive foreign sports car. Upon delivery, he made a complete inspection, looking carefully for any imperfections. He found none. Several years later, he discovered, for “the first time that parts of his car had been repainted.” The dealer investigated and discovered that although the vehicle had been manufactured overseas, “a color mismatch exceeding factory standards was discovered” at the port of entry “and a factory authorized and factory specified repainting was performed essentially involving the right side of the vehicle to correct the mismatch.” These facts were not revealed by the manufacturer or the importer to the dealer because the repainting was considered by the manufacturer to be “part of its regular factory preparation of the car for ultimate sale.” The warranty and customer information booklet given to the customer stated that “repairs and replacements are made at different stages of the delivery process,” even “after transportation from the factory and at the dealer location.” It specifically stated that repairs, even to paint, may have been made to the new car. Despite the fact that the customer obtained “expert opinions that the port-of-entry repainting of his car reduced its value at the time he purchased below that which he paid,” his claim was rejected on summary judgment. The Appellate Division agreed with the lower court commenting that the car’s warranty “succinctly stated that ‘repairs and replacements are made in the delivery process’ and that an effort is made to detect the ‘slightest flaws’ and correct them, ‘at the factory, after transportation from the factory, and at the dealer location.’” The fact that the painting was done at the port of entry and not at the factory had no bearing on whether the manufacturer “committed an unconscionable practice either in repainting to correct the mismatch” or “in failing to disclose that it had done so.” The “repainting [was] done in conformity with the express terms of a warranty that permitted [the manufacturer] to bring the car into conformity with its standards prior to its release of the vehicle into the stream of commerce.”

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