Can I seek financial compensation for my time and for the depreciation of my car as a result of faulty exhaust products that were sold to me?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I seek financial compensation for my time and for the depreciation of my car as a result of faulty exhaust products that were sold to me?

I installed an after market exhaust system on my car last year. The valves on the first system expanded and started to cause a squeaking sound, which resulted in the check engine light coming on as well. The manufacturer sent me a new system but the check engine light came on again because one of the valves is stuck open. They said they would send me a 3rd system but I was on my own, they will not provide a warranty if something goes wrong. I have been wanting to sell my car

for months now but haven’t been able to due to the faulty products that the manufacturer has sold me I have also spend around 100 hours dealing with this. Is seeking financial compensation for my time and the depreciation of the car something I can pursue legally?

Asked on March 13, 2018 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to sue for the depreciation, though proving it can be difficult and may not be economically worthwhile: the law doesn't let you just produce something like the Kelly Blue Book or a CarFax report. Rather, you need live expert testimony, such as from an experienced auto appraiser or insurance adjuster who values cars, to establish how the extra time that has passed (or the parts installed) has caused your car to depreciate. Since you'd have to pay this person for their time (e.g. to examine your car, write up their conclusions, and testify in court), you could spend more on the lawsuit than you'd get.
You cannot get compensation for your own time: the law does not provide that.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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