Tammy (T) needs a new refrigerator and visits a well-known reputable retail store named Fridges Empire (FE) situated at Northpoint City, Yishun. She speaks to Harvey (H), the manager of the refrigerator department, and asks him to show her the range of refrigerators available in the store. T had encountered a bad experience with her previous refrigerator and has a perpetual fear that the freezer unit temperature could fluctuate and “thaw out”, causing damage and contamination to her frozen food.
She informs H about this fact and was told that this issue should not pose a problem with their current range of products. After walking through the store, T spots one refrigerator in particular that she was interested in. H tells her: “This is an excellent brand with an international reputation. It is the manufacturer’s latest model. Don’t worry about temperature fluctuations, it will never happen to this model as it has a patented temperature-locking system. It will serve you for a lifetime”. T was particularly impressed by the presence of the patented temperature locking system and bought the refrigerator immediately because of this assurance.
After the refrigerator is delivered to her home and installed, T places a number of items in it and the next morning, when she opens the refrigerator to get the milk for her morning coffee, she notices everything inside the refrigerator had frozen over. When she opens the freezer unit, she was shocked to find that everything had thawed out and noticed a strong “rotting” stench present. T is disappointed and upset. She finally discovered the sale documents and invoice, which she had signed when the refrigerator was delivered. There is a clause stating:
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“The manufacturer and retailer accept no responsibility whatsoever for any loss, damage, or defects howsoever caused from and by the use of this product. Furthermore, after delivery of the said product has been done there is no warranty, guarantee, or assurance provided in respect of the product sold.”
Advise T whether she will be able to successfully sue either the manufacturer or the retailer for selling a defective and unsatisfactory refrigerator to her despite the presence of the above clause which she (T) had inadvertently signed.
“One of the disadvantages and pitfalls of mediation as an alternative method of dispute resolution is its ineffectiveness in enforcing any mediated settlement. Any party who has agreed to a mediated settlement could just simply “walk away” and there is nothing the other party can do about it! However, things are about to change with the passing of the Singapore Convention on Mediation Act 2020”.
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