With electronic trade and cross-border transactions now on the rise, the application of warranties offered by manufacturers and distributors takes on a whole new importance, especially in light of the private international law provisions of the Civil Code of Québec (C.C.Q.) and the Consumer Protection Act (C.P.A.).
In this particular case, Mr. Bousquet purchased a computer manufactured by Acer, and received it at his Ottawa residence with an invoice indicating that the device had been sent from the Montreal Distribution Centre.
The computer broke down twice, once while he was residing in Ottawa and then again in Québec. Mr. Bousquet contacted Acer to have it honour its obligations under the conventional warranty and assume the cost of shipping pursuant to section 49 of the C.P.A. Acer refused to pay shipping costs in accordance with the contents of the conventional warranty offered.
Alleging that section 49 had been repeatedly and knowingly infringed, Mr. Bousquet turned to the Court of Québec to claim $60,000 in exemplary damages, in addition to $100 in compensatory damages In response to this suit, Acer argued that Québec courts lack jurisdiction, and asked that the Ontario law be applied to this case.
While the Court of Québec ruled that Québec courts do have jurisdiction, it nonetheless concluded that the Ontario law governed these contractual relations. Mr. Bousquet’s argument that the C.P.A. had been infringed was therefore set aside.
According to this decision, the general rules of conflict must be taken into consideration when determining what law applies to a dispute. This ruling teaches us that consumers who buy a good under warranty while abroad or residing outside Québec will not be able to take advantage of the rules of the Consumer Protection Act once they move back or return to the province.
Acer America Corporation was counseled by a Fasken Martineau team consisting of Noah Boudreau (litigation and dispute resolution) and Enrico Forlini (litigation and dispute resolution).
Bousquet v. Acer America Corporation (Canada)