Malfunctioning Computers: Who Pays?
by Clifford Sherry, Ph. D.
You have just decided to purchase a new computer, peripheral (disc drive, printer, etc.) or software
package (program). How should you proceed? First, you should stop and do some careful thinking and
possibly some research. You need to decide exactly what you want your hardware (computer, peripheral)
or software to do. For example, with many small computers, time may be a factor. Two computers can
perform the same function, but one takes seconds, while the other takes minutes. If you require the task to
be performed in seconds, then the second computer, even though it can perform the task, may not be for
you. It is a good idea to make a list of your wants and needs and then go to one or more computer stores
or manufacturers and do some comparative shopping. Second, when you decide to make your purchase,
be sure to tell the salesman exactly what you want and need and what you can afford to spend and allow
him to suggest an appropriate system.
Uniform Commercial Code
Once you have made your purchase, hopefully everything will go well and you will be completely
satisfied with your purchase. But, suppose this does not occur. What if your computer or software does
not perform as expected or at all? You will probably call the computer store or manufacturer. But what if
you follow their instructions to the letter and it still does not work? What do you do? First, you must
distinguish between hardware, which is covered by the Uniform Commercial Code and software, which
is not. Second, you must determine what your rights are and how to proceed.
Computers and peripherals, as well as most other manufactured goods are covered by the Uniform
Commercial Code, which is a series of commercial law statutes. Outright sales, including those involving
time payments, are usually covered. A sales is defined as "the passing of title from the seller to the buyer
for a price". Leases and leases with the option to buy are less clear and probably need to be decided in the