Consequential and Incidental Damages

Imre Solt pictures of Dubai construction

Photos of Dubai Construction Update by Imre Solt, 2007, who placed them under a GNU Free Documentation License. His website is Dubai Constructions Update by Imre Solt. His earlier posts were on Skyscrapercity.com. We did not find these particular pictures we received via email many years ago, but if you were into building, then this is the place and site.

What can go wrong? In a multi-billion dollar construction site, there is insurance. For small projects, we do not wish to get bogged down in legal documents, insurance companies, etc, when the chances of any of them paying out is minimal, as there will have been some small item overlooked. To examine all the possibilities would be more difficult than the design, however, if you are willing to pay....

 

There ain't much work out here in our consumer power base
No major industry, just miles and miles of parking space

   No Man's Land — Billy Joel, River of Dreams album, 1993.
See lyrics for River of Dreams.


Back then...

On another continent, we designed complete industrial automation systems, however, consequential damages cannot be excluded under Australian Consumer Law, so we exited that industry.

Power

All power is limited to low voltage (24 VDC or lower) where a user can make contact with any terminals. Most inputs are high-impedance with currents increased for contact wetting — typically under 20mA. Outputs are solid state with their rating dependant on the installed drivers. As with a typical electrical tool warranty, our products are not intended to be installed by casual end-users, small children, individuals without electrical training, (obviously animals but they can't read this disclaimer anyway), under water, near flammable liquids (and solids for that matter), or anywhere that can potentially lead to harm. We refrain from asking you to wear eye protection unless you are cutting the 0,1 inch pins with side cutters, an angle grinder or an axe. Count fingers before and after each editing session.

Petrol bowsers have all manner of warnings, including the possibility of a mobile phone being a danger. What about the vast current and higher voltages sucked in by the starter motor of the driver next to your open petrol tank as he pulls off? Please use your own brains, as our products do not have any.

Compatible Evaluation Boards

For customers who prefer compatibility with existing evaluation boards, we purchase identical hardware and they assume responsibility for all hardware. (We have boxes of various evaluation boards, but they are generally well below the cost of a single day of writing software). We write most software ourselves, using components where freely available that do not have patent liabilities (that we are aware of).

Historical Perspective

Consequential damages under Australian Consumer Law were originally designed to protect people purchasing large items like vehicles or houses. In an industry where electronic failures are unpredictable, it is difficult to accept consequential damages — we don't know when or how components will fail, either open— or a short circuit. When Australia doesn't manufacture electronic components, local manufacturers rely on imported devices. Australian Consumer Law still overrides the terms and conditions of devices that are imported even though the overseas vendors expressly exclude damages.

Chances of enforcement

We can stand on our heads Down Under, but there is a better chance of getting a convicted drug dealer off the death penalty in neighbouring countries than changing the sample warranty below. Try punching above your weight in a US legal dispute for consequential damages! So why would consequential damages work here in the electronics industry?


Sample disclaimer

To give an example of a Standard Warranty that accompanies a typical evaluation board from the USA, one is included below.

Seller warrants that its products sold hereunder will at the time of shipment be free and clear of all liens and encumbrances and will be free from defects in material and workmanship and will conform to Seller's applicable specifications or, if appropriate, to Buyer's specifications accepted by Seller in writing. If products sold hereunder are not as warranted, Seller shall, at its option, refund the purchase price, repair or replace the product, provided proof of purchase and written notice of nonconformance is received by Seller within one (1) year from date of initial shipment, and provided said nonconforming products are, with Seller's written authorization, 1returned FOB Seller's plant or authorized repair center within thirty (30) days from expiration of said 1-year period. Upon verification by Seller that the product does not conform to this warranty, Seller will pay the cost of transporting such replacement or repaired goods to Buyer's plant within the contiguous 48 United States. This warranty shall not apply to any products Seller determines have been, by Buyer or otherwise, subjected to testing for other that specified electrical characteristics or to operating and/or environmental conditions in excess of the maximum values established in applicable specifications, or have been subject to mishandling, misuse, neglect, improper testing, repair, alteration, damage, assembly or processing that alters physical or electrical properties. This warranty excludes all costs of shipping, customs clearance and related charges outside the contiguous 48 United States.

 


Followed by the most important part. When lawyers resort to all caps keys, they are either very angry or trying to get a point across. We copied this verbatim.

IN NO EVENT WLL SELLER BE LIABLE FOR ANY INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES. THIS WARRANTY EXTENDS TO BUYER ONLY AND NOT TO BUYER'S CUSTOMERS OR USERS OF BUYER'S PRODUCTS AND IS IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER WARRANTIES WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY INCLUDING IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS.

1 In the event of dispute Proof of Purchase will be required.