In the midst of a trade war, what law inhibits selling useless retail junk to unsuspecting customers?

I walk into a local variety store (there are about five of them, interconnected, family-owned). On the counter is a display of flashlights, about three inches long, with a very bright LED beam. This type of light can cost $10 or $20 at least, so I've found a 'bargain model' for only $3.50. A few days later, it stops turning on, even with brand new batteries. I take it back, cashier offers an exchange for another new one. He admits that a few other customers had the same problem.

I bring it back a few days later and the manager is behind the register. I give him the whole scenario. He allows me a replacement this time only, he says, because the lights are an "at your own risk" item. (They're made in China, so caveat emptor. Okay, I get that.) He won't be reimbursed for failed lights, he says, so he can't offer returns for them. I didn't see a sign reading "at your own risk". I've never, ever had a problem with the variety stores' goods before. And I don't have time to pursue this issue any further, which is actually part of the manager's job.I've never bought pure junk like that before, in U.S. Here's the question: Is there a law (like in the Universal Commercial Code, perhaps the 'implied warranty of merchantability') that prohibits selling pure junk to unsuspecting buyers? And, legally, is the manager required to post a sign saying ‘as is’? Perhaps management should refuse wholesale goods made in China that don't offer reimbursement to the store, hence to customers.

6 Answers

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  • 12 months ago

    Warrantee law protects you. When a seller or company offers a specific warrantee that's called an express warrantee. When no warrantee is offered, the buyer still has some protection by what is called an implied warrantee. That means that a product must function up to a "reasonable expectation". Example: if you buy a boat you have a reasonable expectation that the boat will float. If it will not float the seller is required by law to repair or replace the boat regardless if there was a specified warrantee or not. "Reasonable expectation" is somewhat vague and would be identified by a judge if it came to that. Used items, however, are sold by default as as-is and have no warrantee unless the seller makes specific claims of the items sold.

  • blank
    Lv 6
    12 months ago

    No such law.   Everything is buyer beware.   Problem is not with the manufacturers or retailers per se - it is with the concept of consumerism:  uninformed, lazy, deal-seeking consumers demand for "CHEAP" get exactly that.  Products that have been "value engineered" to the point of uselessness.

    Manufacturers and retailers that want to stay in business are complicit only in that they cave into the consumer pressure to provide a lower cost product rather than take the time and make the effrot to sell on value/quality.

    Consumer challenge is it is dang difficult to know when it's time to ignore that $3.50 flash light and pop for the $20 item.   In your case, there is no guarantee that the $20 item's switch will be any more durable than the $3.50 crud item.

    And its for that reason that we no longer bother trying to fix TVs, microwaves, coffee makers, etc.   It is just cheaper and easier to buy, consume, discard (destroy the environment) and replace.... then rinse/repeat ...... all manner of items.   Such mentality is everywhere and why 90% of what you buy today will not be around in 20 years.

  • 12 months ago

    None. The function of a product is not guaranteed by the retailer unless stated. But legally the retailer is required to post a sign on their return policy. There is no law the retailer must accept returns or offer refunds. Perhaps those who understand Caveat Emptor should remember it with every purchase and understand that if the price is too good to be true, there is likely a good reason!

  • 12 months ago

    The management has no obligation to take returns or issue refunds at all.

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  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    12 months ago

    Comsumer protection law https://www.hg.org/consume.html

  • Goerge
    Lv 7
    12 months ago

    Like you said, caveat emptor is the best answer.

    There isn't a law. Like you said it's up to the buyer to investigate the matter. I can buy a toaster oven for $20 or up to $200+ and this one is on sale for $9.99. The one I own costs $190. The wheels I first used on my first motorized bike we're stock and the hub ended up failing on one and the other had spokes snapping. Fast forward a couple years and I have mag wheels that don't rely on 14 or 12g spokes.

    Source(s): Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum, et cetera, et cetera... Memo bis punitor delicatum!.
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