My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: California
I am fond of a particular brand of soft drink. Unfortunately, it is rather expensive so I wait until major holidays when it is on sale at deeply discounted prices. I then make bulk purchases at less than half price of 12 packs of the drink in cans. I store the product in my home in a temperature controlled environment, properly stacked (cans up) for later use throughout the year. I have been doing this for years without incident until recently.
In approximately March of this year, 24 - 12 packs began to develop pin hole leaks in the bottom of their cans. Slowly and unnoticeably over a period of time, these leaks saturated the cardboard factory containers holding the cans. In turn, this cause mold to grow on the containers and wall against which the containers were stacked. The leaking beverage seeped into the carpet and padding underneath. In addition, ink from the cartons containing the cans bled into the paint on the wall and the carpet, and cannot be removed by conventional cleaning, necessitating repainting of the wall and replacement of the carpet.
An identical incident occurred again last month (September) involving approximately 28 – 12 packs of the soft drink in a different location, creating similar damage.
I reported the first incident to the soft drink manufacturer when it happened, both by email (with pictures included) and using their online product failure report. No one responded. I reported the second incident by telephone and the manufacturer’s insurance adjuster is just now contacting me. One of the questions that has arisen pertains to replacement cost for the rug that I do not know how to address.
First, the house has wall to wall carpet. You cannot replace the carpet in two rooms and make it match the rest of the house, so the entire house will need to be changed out.
Next, when the house was manufactured, the original flooring consisted of asbestos tile which was secured with mastic containing asbestos. (I know because I previously had it tested.) Carpet was later installed over it. When I had a prior water leak and had to lift the carpet to replace padding, I learned that many of the asbestos tiles are loose. Any attempt to remove and replace the carpet will likely result in asbestos being released into the air from the mastic and broken tiles unless an expensive abatement is done first.
Realistically, aside from replacing their defective product, what liability might the soft drink manufacturer bear with respect to painting, carpet replacement and asbestos abatement necessary to facilitate carpet replacement? And in anticipation of your first question, the damaged carpet is high end, shows no cuts or tears, but is at least 22 years old.