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Friday, December 13, 2019

IL Supreme Court: Buyers of defective RV not required to allow dealer to fix it before demanding refund

State Court

By D.M. Herra | Oct 4, 2019

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Illinois Supreme Court | Vimeo livestream screenshot

The Illinois Supreme Court has awarded vindication to a couple who purchased a lemon of a motor home, when the court ruled the buyers were entitled to revoke their purchase of the dysfunctional vehicle and return it to the dealer.

Defendant Vacationland Inc. argued that plaintiffs Kimberly Accettura and Adam Wozniak had not allowed it adequate time to fix the recreational vehicle’s defects before revoking their acceptance of the trailer. After succeeding at the circuit and appellate levels, Vacationland lost its argument before the Supreme Court on Sept. 19.

Accettura and Wozniak purchased the RV new from Vacationland in April 2014. That June, they noticed a window leaked, and Vacationland offered to repair the issue at no charge. A month later, leaking windows during a rainstorm caused extensive damage inside the RV, including electrical failure. Vacationland told the couple it could not repair the defect itself and would have to send the RV back to the manufacturer.

Neither Vacationland nor the manufacturer would give the couple an estimate of how long the repairs would take, and the RV sat at the dealership for more than two weeks without being picked up by the manufacturer. Nearly three weeks after returning the vehicle for repairs, Accettura and Wozniak called Vacationland and “verbally revoked acceptance of the RV.”

About six weeks later, Vacationland called the couple and told them the repairs were complete and they could pick up the vehicle. The pair responded with a letter from their attorney confirming they had revoked their acceptance of the RV. They later filed a complaint in Kane County court seeking a return of the purchase price plus damages.

At issue before the court was whether the revocation was allowed under the Uniform Commercial Code. The code states that a buyer may “revoke his acceptance of a lot or commercial unit whose non-conformity substantially impairs its value” under two conditions – one, if the buyer knew the item was defective but expected it to be repaired, and it was not repaired in a reasonable amount of time; or two, if the buyer did not know of the defect at the time of purchase.

While Vacationland conceded that the buyers did not know the RV was defective when they purchased it, it claimed the statute allows that the dealership should have time to address the defect. The buyers, meanwhile, argued that the ability to repair a defect applies only to the first condition of the statute and not the second.

“We agree with [the plaintiffs’] interpretation,” Justice Rita B. Garman wrote in the court’s unanimous opinion. “We find this language plain and … subsection (1)(b) [of the UCC} does not require that a buyer give the seller an opportunity to cure.”

Vacationland argued that because the couple had brought the RV in for repair, they were obligated to allow time for the repairs before revoking their purchase. The court found no support for that position.

“Nothing in the record indicates that plaintiffs agreed to an open-ended repair timeline,” Garman wrote. “The fact that they considered allowing defendant to cure does not obligate them to accept an unreasonable cure.”

The case was remanded for further proceedings.

The plaintiffs have been represented by attorney Dmitry N. Feofanov, of P.C., of Lyndon.

Vacationland has been represented by attorneys Lauryn E. Parks, Jennifer L. Friedland and Daniel S. Porter, of

Momkus McCluskey Roberts LLC, of Lisle.

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Organizations in this Story

Illinois Supreme CourtIllinois Second District Appellate CourtMomkus McCluskeyCircuit Court of Kane CountyVacationland

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