Civil Law,  Legally Yours

Villostas v. Court of Appeals

Villostas v. Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 96271; June 26, 1992

FACTS:

Desiring to have safe drinking water at home, herein petitioner Villostas and her husband decided to buy a water purifier. At about this time, private respondent’s Electrolux sales agents were making door to door selling of its products in the subdivision where petitioner has her residence. Because private respondent’s sales agents had assured petitioner of the very special features of their brand of water purifier, petitioner Villostas placed an order for one (1) unit of said water purifier. On September 13, 1986, an Electrolux Aqua Guard water purifier was delivered and installed at petitioner’s residence. Consequently, petitioner signed the Sales Order and the Contract of Sale with Reservation of Title in October 1986. A warranty certificate was issued by private respondent which provides that:

ELECTROLUX MARKETING, INCORPORATED WARRANTS THIS QUALITY ELECTROLUX PRODUCT TO PERFORM EFFICIENTLY FOR ONE FULL YEAR FROM DATE OF ORIGINAL PURCHASE.

The purchase of said unit was on installment basis under which petitioner would pay the amount of P16,190.00 in 20 monthly installments of P635.00 a month.

After two (2) weeks, petitioner verbally complained for the first time about the impurities, dirtiness, and bad odor coming out of the unit. On October 21, 1986, private respondent Electrolux sent its service technician to examine and test the water purifier. The water which came out was dirty so the unit was shut off automatically. The technician changed the filter of the unit on said date without charge with an instruction that the filter should be changed every 6 months otherwise the unit will not last long as the water in the area was dirty.

After the filter was replaced, petitioner paid the amount of Pl,650.00 on November 18, 1986 which included the first amortization of P700.00.

Petitioner complained for the second and third time when dirty water still came out of the water purifier after the replacement of the filter. It was on the third complaint of petitioner Villostas when the service technician gave advice that the filter should be changed every six (6) months costing about P300.00 which was considered to be uneconomical by the former.

On December 9, 1986, petitioner sent a letter to the private respondent’s branch manager stating therein her complaint that the actual performance of the carbon filter was only for a month instead of the private respondent’s claim that the replacement of such filter will be only once every six (6) months. The petitioner, citing the above incident as uneconomical, decided to return the unit and demand a refund for the amount paid, Electrolux’s branch manager offered to change the water purifier with another brand of any of its appliance of the unit in her favor. Petitioner did not accept it as she was disappointed with the original unit which did not perform as warranted. Consequently, petitioner did not pay anymore the subsequent installments in the amount of P14,540.00 exclusive of interests.

What transpired next was an exchange of demand letter and reply between petitioner and private respondent.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the petitioner is entitled to rescind the contract on the basis of a violation of the warranty of the article delivered by the respondent

HELD:

Yes. As regards the contention that the action for rescission is barred by prescription under Art. 1571 of the Civil Code, the same is bereft of merit. It must be pointed out that at the time the Electrolux Aqua Guard water purifier was delivered and installed at petitioner Villostas’ residence a Warranty Certificate was issued by private respondent Electrolux which reads:

ELECTROLUX MARKETING, INCORPORATED WARRANTS THIS QUALITY ELECTROLUX PRODUCT TO PERFORM EFFICIENTLY FOR ONE FULL YEAR FROM DATE OF ORIGINAL PURCHASE.

The foregoing is clearly an express warranty regarding the efficiency of the water purifier. On this regard, the court said that while it is true that Article 1571 of the Civil Code provides for a prescriptive period of six months for a redhibitory action, a cursory reading of the ten preceding articles to which it refers will reveal that said rule may be applied only in case of implied warranties. The present case involves one with an express warranty. Consequently, the general rule on rescission of contracts, which is four years (Article 1389, Civil Code) shall apply (Moles v. IAC, G.R. No. 73913, 169 SCRA 777 [1989]). Inasmuch as the instant case involves an express warranty, the filing of petitioner’s amended answer on September 30, 1988 is well within the four-year prescriptive period for rescission of contract from September 13, 1986, which was the delivery date of the unit.

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