Unloading in the evening

Unloading in the evening

Friday, July 8, 2016

Warranty claim about under-powered high-clearance sprayer ends up in court

The Queen's Bench in Saskatchewan recently dismissed a claim by a farmer who alleged that a high-clearance sprayer he'd purchased was under-powered.  In 2010, the farmer of 2,300 acres spent considerable time researching options and decided on a 2010 Agchem 1184 RoGator ("1184") at a purchase price of $328,500 (before trade-in). The sprayer was delivered on May 11, 2010.  The farmer started using the sprayer on May 12, 2010 and complained that day to the sales representative that the sprayer was under-powered.  Namely, it was working too hard at the speed at which the farmer wished to operate.

Over the next several days, adjustments were made to the engine and tests were conducted.  The representative of the manufacturer concluded that the sprayer was working as intended.  The farmer disagreed and continued to complain that the machine was under-powered.

The farmer invoked Section 36 of Saskatchewan's The Agricultural Implements Act, R.S.S. 1978, c. A-10, and sent a notice of rejection.  Under the Act, the vendor then had seven days in which to try to remedy the problem.  However, by that time, the vendor and the manufacturer had already concluded that there was no problem with the machine.  No further action was taken.

Ultimately, the farmer demanded his money back.  He parked the sprayer at the farm and never used it again.  It was sold at public auction in 2012.  The farmer sued the vendor for breach of warranty on the basis that the machine did not perform well for the work it was intended.

The Court found that the farmer failed to discharge his burden of proving that the warranty in Section 36(4) of the Act was breached - "Every contract for the sale of a new implement is deemed to include a warranty that, if the new implement is properly used and operated, it will perform well the work for which it is intended."  The Court accepted the evidence of the manufacturer's representative who found that the sprayer operated properly - he observed that the sprayer was spraying properly and at an acceptable speed (given wet field conditions).  The Court also took note of the fact that the machine appeared to have completed its spraying operations successfully; in 2010, the sprayer was used for 1,400 acres with no evidence of any adverse effect on crop performance. The farmer's claim was dismissed.

Read the decision at: Coward v Kramer Ltd.