Ron Abrahams had a motor yacht. When the diesel engines needed replacement, he had new ones installed. At the commissioning, things already went wrong. He heard a disturbing rattle, a ticking sound and saw excessive smoke. Abrahams immediately contacted the shipyard which contacted the supplier. The latter refused to deal with the complaint.
Then Abrahams and the shipyard went to investigate themselves. Measurements were taken of the propeller shaft and thrust bearings. Heavier damper plates were mounted, some flywheel reinforcement applied. It all helped a little, but at low speeds the vibrations remained. Abrahams would get big problems on routes where he could not or did not want to sail fast. At higher rpm’s a periodic ticking sound appeared and smoke developments and oil film were now standard. After a year, Abrahams ordered a torsional vibration calculation anyway. The report showed that the fault did not lie in the propeller shaft installation installed by the yard, as the supplier claimed. While the supplier insisted that the rpm had to be increased, a new report showed that the quality of both engines was seriously inadequate. Abrahams had had enough, especially when the supplier, after being held formally liable, reported that almost two years had passed since the purchase and the motors had only been guaranteed for one year. To top it all off, the supplier claimed that Ron Abrahams had started experimenting himself, which would have changed the scope of delivery and therefore the supplier did not have to fulfill its obligations anymore.
The court was clear. Abrahams had filed a timely complaint with the supplier. The fact that it took so much time to find a solution that the warranty period had already expired, did not matter to the court. The supplier had to deliver new motors.
In accordance with the agreement.
A warranty period as such is not decisive for the right to compensation. What is important is that the item meets the expectations you may have of it and has properties you do not need to doubt. If you buy a boat of undoubtedly many thousands of euros and the engine breaks down after a short time without any apparent reason, then with a very high probability a court will rule that the seller has not delivered in accordance with the contract.
You can insist on performance of the contract, repair of the engine at the seller’s expense or perhaps even replacement. Liability after the expiration of the warranty period varies from case to case. The determining factor is the so-called reasonable economic life, whereby you have to notify the seller of the observed defect within ‘reasonable time’. In practice, this is about two months. It is also important that, in principle, you must have sued the seller within two years of discovering the defect.