Dear Consumer Ed:
I brought a chainsaw to a store for service. When I went back to pick it up, the store told me it had been lost or stolen. The owner offered to give me another used saw or a discount on a new saw. I am concerned that if I get another used saw, it may not be in the same condition as mine. I think the owner owes me my saw or a new one. What is the owner legally obligated to do?
Consumer Ed says:
Unless some other duty of care or obligation on the part of the store is stated in an agreement with the customer, the store is required to exercise ordinary care and diligence of the customer’s property or the same degree of care the customer would exercise over his own property.
If you signed any documents when you dropped off your saw for service, check to see if there are any terms that would limit the store’s liability. If there are no stated limitations, then the store should be liable for damages equal to the fair market value of your saw because the store did not exercise the care needed to prevent your saw from being lost or stolen. It would be appropriate for the owner to provide you with the choice of either a used saw having a condition similar to yours, or a brand new saw at a discounted price, with the discount equal to the value of your saw. If you are concerned about the condition of a used saw, you may want to consider the option of purchasing a new saw at a discounted price.
Submit your own question to Consumer Ed. Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.