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Being sued for selling "cracked" woodburner.

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by FrankG23, Apr 2, 2011.

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  1. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    This is actually a probable scenario, knowing personal experience some years back.

    I used to work in a garden centre, and one of the things we sold was those Mexican chimney things. A customer bought a terracotta one, and from what I can imagine, instead of seasoning it and starting off with a small fire, they lit a fire which was not warm enough, then stuffed loads in to make it hotter (all greenish wood). Not getting hot enough, they stuffed more in it, and then as the wood dried out, it took off and ended up like a volcano in the backyard, and the chimney just cracked up into several bits and collapsed.

    Taking all the comments from everybody else here into account, I suspect you have a fairly good case.

    How experienced is the person you sold the burner to in using properly seasoned wood?
    Probably very inexperienced, and chucked on any old stuff around.
    In fact, they probably even had a truckload of "seasoned" wood delivered in (we all know what "seasoned" wood means, had at least a month piled in a yard somewhere in a heap.....no chance of drying through.

    Having a fire with unseasoned wood could easily cause a scenario like the Mexican chimney above, cracking cast iron if it's heated too quickly or stressed and heated in some areas more rapidly than others.
    You can imagine it now, someone chucking more and more wood on to get instant heat like they are used to with an electric fire.

    Think carefully through all the scenarios, without saying anything to the other person.
    Prepare a whole set of questions about how they lit the fire, and how much they put on. How experienced are they in burning wood etc.......

    If it was me, I would definitely go to court over it.

    Just remember, once you make an offer, it will be seen as an admission of liability by anybody o the other side.

    And as a last thought, when welding cast iron, you make a groove in the weld so it will take, just a different technique to welding steel.
    That in itself does not make it incredibly expensive to do.
    So I would be a bit suspicious of anybody who says how expensive it is to repair.

    Plenty to think about there, so keep us posted as to how things go!!!!!!!!!

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  2. greythorn3

    greythorn3 Minister of Fire

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    this is plain old abuse of the legal system, they should be locked up in jail for this, along with them junk debt buyers.
  3. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    If your the plaintiff, please tell me how you can prove if it was there before or after? You inspected it with your boyfriend and found it suitable for the price. Please watch these 2 videos, around 3:10 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDnj5rlEV7s also watch this one as well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hbBcJcHTjY
  4. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    I Will let you know how it goes, She say's the inspector will come to court and testify it was "not working" when I sold it to her.
  5. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Is she claiming that she never fired the stove?
  6. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    yes, this crack was found while installers were installing it. she claims "it could only be found after they took it apart as per protocol"
  7. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    As a big Judge Judy fan I can tell you that she would decide in your favor. When you buy something that old "let the buyer be ware". I think a strong case can be made that it cracked when she had it moved to her location or during the installation. She should have had it inspected before the purchase. I don't believe that she can get anything more than the purchase price of the stove even if she does win. If she does win get the stove back and scrap it out.
    .
  8. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    After the exhaust flue/duct was taken off the back, you could of seen down in there. I am not sure if they looked or not, I looked down there and never saw any problems. If you were so concerned with something, wouldn't you take time to inspect more? Also, I feel like this is almost like a used car sale, the buyer asks you "does the engine have any oil leaks" you reply "NO" then 2 weeks later you discover an "oil leak" after a mechanic looked at it.

    I told her this as well "It was here when I bought my house" "I used this for 6 years with no problems, as well as my wife" My wife got served with the same complaint as well as me. My wife's name isn't on the deed, or was even at home when this transaction was taken place. I do have the seller's disclosure papers with nothing mentioning of a faulty woodburner or that it was fixed before i bought the home. She knew all the information that I knew before she bought it. That's why I am going to court. They have to prove w/ out a doubt , that I lied to them. Which in fact I did not. hence the only reason I am going to court. she claims that "I KNEW before I sold it to her that It didn't work right and was faulty".
  9. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    If she could only see a crack after it had been stripped, how could she claim you knew about the crack.

    She can't have it both ways.
  10. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    exactly, that's why she's having the "installer" come to testify "I knew about it" before I sold it. besides the occasional downdrafts, we never had any problems, and that was only when we started it after it being not used for acouple of warm days outside.
  11. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Not top be construed as legal advice, but:

    As others have posted, you probably have a good case. I would research the laws in your area, but usually the "as-is" law prevails unless otherwise stated. You could further testify you allowed them to inspect it as much as they wanted before the purchase. For future reference, the best answer is 'no cracks that I know of' or 'no XXX that I know of'. This gives you some leeway as you are not a certified inspector, metallurgist, etc (that I know of!)

    The down side is, if this goes to court, you loose. How? Well, you really need to have your ducks in a row when you hit the court room. This means research into the laws of the sale, documentation /copies of everything, a log book of all phone calls, emails, correspondence, etc, certified mailings, time off work to go to court, etc. So the best case is you have a judgment on your behalf, owe nothing and you're out time off work, gas, time spent on research, etc. Second worst would be a 'reasonable judgment' you are ordered to pay back the $400 + court costs which could be another couple hundred, plus time off work, etc. Absolute worst would be she gets the full judgment and you are out everything. But even 'winning' means lost time, wages, etc.

    The one thing which would worry me, it it seems she is threatening this lawsuit as almost the 'first option' - sounds like she's been down this road before and probably knows her way around the court system - for one reason or another. With most 'normal folk' a lawsuit is usually the 'last resort'.

    You might try to call the bluff and mention the 'as is' law (authoritatively cite her the exact statute, etc) mention you will testify they both had adequate time to inspect the stove before the sale. (perhaps send a certified letter of this statement, or at least keep copies of all emails, etc) If she won't drop it, the second step would be to offer her a refund if they bring the stove in original condition back to your place. If she still balks, mention you will send the offer in a certified letter which you would also bring to trial. If she goes for the offer, that would at least get you 'out from under' the situation with a minimum of time, money, and work invested. If not, you would at least have documentation that you tried to work it out before court. Which would be better in the judges eyes than testimony of you / your wife.

    Anyway, let us know how it turns out.
  12. Jaugust124

    Jaugust124 Feeling the Heat

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    Others have mentioned here that the repair should reasonably cost around $50 instead of the $150 she is claiming. How about you have a welder look at it at her place and give her a legitimate estimate to get it fixed. Maybe it would avoid court altogether. It also would help you in your case if you do go to court. The judge would see that she is trying to gouge you. She probably won't go for it because it sounds like she wants you to help her pay for a new stove.
  13. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    she lives over an hr. away. she's claiming 350 or more to fix it as well. I am not contacting her because she will try and use it against me prob. in court.
  14. snowleopard

    snowleopard New Member

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    The $1260 she's asking is to help cover costs of all these expert witnesses she's assembling. Sounds like she has enough of them to make up an open-heart surgery team.

    Another possibility for witnesses on your behalf was alluded to above. I bought a car from a man who has a reputation (that I didn't know about) as a liar and a thief. He had a list of court actions against him as long as my arm. Easy to find after the fact.

    If you run a search of the court system, and you find other people that she's launched fraudulent claims against, the might be irritated enough with her to be willing to testify to that. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know if it would do you any good, but it's worth looking into. Or so I see it.
  15. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    I did tell her on the phone when she called 2 weeks later and told her it was sold as-is and you inspected it yourself along w/ your boyfriend. I did send a certified letter stating it was inspected by yourself and it was in satisfactory condition to buy it, something like that.
  16. Billy123

    Billy123 Member

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    Like a used car, she should of had it inspected before she bought it. She won't win in court and may be bluffing.

    Why not get a boat, anchor it in front of her house, and blast Dean Martin music until she drops the case?
  17. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    She already filed a court lawsuit. our hearing is april 25th. Court cost's for 100$.
  18. GatorDL55

    GatorDL55 Member

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    Let her take you to court. She has no case. Caveat emptor. Buyer beware. All private party transactions are as-is.
  19. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    I told her exactly what I knew about it and how much I used it, which was every winter. never had a problem with it.
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I know of two people who bought cars privately. Both ended up having cracked blocks. Neither was able to get a refund. You bought it, you fix it. One was an easy fix. The other was more costly. But neither was able to return the car for a refund.
  21. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    The more I think about it and read these replies I think i would go to court too, I sometimes look for the easiest way to get out of situations lik this because of the time invovled, even if you win, sometimes you lose. If shes a professional shyster I would probably go on principle alone.
    Im still not understanding how the crack wasnt visible after you disconnected the stove to transport it but it is on installation, what am I missing?
    Good luck
  22. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    did they go to small claims court?
  23. FrankG23

    FrankG23 New Member

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    Here is the pic that i had on CL, I also had a picture of the other side as well. [​IMG]
  24. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I dunno my wood furnaces very well. What is that? and Older Fire Chief, like the smaller 300 or something?
  25. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    It looks like an old johnson, or 1400-1500 series hotblast by usstove. For 400.00 I don't know what she expected. A new furnace like that is much higher. If I bought something that looked like that, I would expect to do some repairs on it. If its in the cast iron collar on the back, I believe that piece can be purchased and replaced. I would let her do it though, as-is. Its kinda like buying an old rusted, beat up car and suing because it needs repairs.
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