Canada

Car's paint job should last 15 years: court ruling

A Saskatchewan court ruling has set a new benchmark for paint jobs on cars. A judge has declared the paint on a new car should last at least 15 years.

The case involves Maureen Frank, who noticed the paint peeling from her 1996 Chevrolet Corsica.

Frank brought it to a mechanic who told her that the car had a faulty paint job and that no primer had been applied underneath the paint.

The mechanic said a car's original paint should last at least ten years. He also said he'd seen the same problem on other General Motors vehicles. A new paint job costs approximately $3,500.

Since the car's warranty had run out, Frank was on the hook for that money.

She took her case to small claims court, suing General Motors of Canada for the costs.

"Most people in Saskatchewan grow up with cars, are familiar with cars, and know that a paint job should last at least 15 years," said the judge in his verdict.

He called the peeling paint a factory defect and ruled that GM will have to pay the $3,500. The company has not made any comment.

Phil Edmonston, author of the Lemon-Aid car guides, said other car-buyers in Canada have won similar cases, but this judge has set a new standard.

"Marriages don't last as long as he wants paint to last," says Edmonston.

"The industry has said 10 years and car companies have said well five, six years. Pushing up to 15 years I think is an important benchmark...Considering the cost of new vehicles today, it should have been established earlier."

This isn't the only case like this in small claims court. Another Saskatoon woman has sued Daimler Chrysler for the same thing. The judge in that case has yet to make a ruling.

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