Our Workplace Relations team often hears from MTA Members who are confronted with the situation of liabilities and warranty terms on parts supplied by another business.
A customer buys a part from you, which you have in turn sourced from an importer or distributor.
The part allegedly fails and the customer turns up asking for a replacement or a refund. What do you do?
The liability for compliance with legal warranties can be complicated but not in this circumstance. You, as the vendor (seller) of the item have a contract with the customer. Your supplier does not. Hence the warranty obligation will rest with you.
In turn, you may be able to claim against the distributor or importer, but be aware that their liability will probably be limited to the cost of supply to you (not the cost charged to the consumer) or a replacement. This really needs to be assessed according to your terms of trade with that supplier.
If communication and availability of parts are not issues, then generally it will be reasonable to sort out all the “claimbacks” at the same time but you cannot ask a customer to wait weeks or more while you haggle with your supplier. You cannot simply point them to the supplier and wash your hands of the affair. While the supplier probably owes some warranty obligation, the primary burden will rest on you as the contracting party with whom the consumer dealt.
If you have any issues in relation to parts supplied to your business, contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations team by clicking here or by calling 8291 2000.