Civil Law,  Legally Yours

De Guzman v. Toyota Cubao

De Guzman v. Toyota Cubao

G.R. NO. 141480; November 29, 2006

FACTS:

On November 27, 1997, petitioner purchased from respondent a brand new white Toyota Hi-Lux 2.4 SS double cab motor vehicle, 1996 model, in the amount of P508,000. Petitioner made a down payment of P152,400, leaving a balance of P355,600 which was payable in 36 months with 54% interest. The vehicle was delivered to petitioner two days later. On October 18, 1998, petitioner demanded the replacement of the engine of the vehicle because it developed a crack after traversing Marcos Highway during heavy rains. Petitioner asserted that respondent should replace the engine with a new one based on an implied warranty. Respondent countered that the alleged damage on the engine was not covered by a warranty.

On April 20, 1999, petitioner filed a complaint for damages against respondent with the RTC. Respondent moved to dismiss the case on the ground that under Article 1571 of the Civil Code, the petitioner’s cause of action had prescribed as the case was filed more than six months from the date the vehicle was sold and/or delivered.

ISSUE:

Whether the prescriptive period for implied warranty already lapsed

HELD:

Yes. Even if the complaint is made to fall under the Republic Act No. 7394, the same should still be dismissed since the prescriptive period for implied warranty thereunder, which is one year, had likewise lapsed.

Under RA No. 7394, the provisions of the Civil Code on conditions and warranties shall govern all contracts of sale with condition and warranties (Art. 67). The duration of the implied warranty (not accompanied by an express warranty) shall endure not less than sixty days nor more than one (1) year following the sale of new consumer products (Art. 68, par. [e]). The two (2) year prescriptive period under Art. 169 cannot prevail over Art. 68 because the latter is the specific provision on the matter.

The Court has noted that the prescriptive period for implied and express warranties cannot be the same. In the Civil Code, a redhibitory action for violation of an implied warranty against hidden defects prescribes in six (6) months, while if it based on an express warranty[,] the action prescribes in four (4) years. Under RA No. 7394, the implied warranty cannot be more than one (1) year; however, the implied warranty can only be of equal duration to that an express warranty when the implied warranty of merchantability accompanies an express warranty (Art. 68, par. [e]). Therefore, the prescriptive period of two years under Art. 169 does not cover an implied warranty, which is not accompanied by an express warranty. It is applicable to cases where there is an express warranty in the sale of the consumer product.

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